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Tegan and Sara @ The Pabst Theater

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May. 8, 2008
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Of all the things I admire about Tegan and Sara—and, to be sure, after the duo’s charged 2007 album The Con, there’s plenty I admire about Tegan and Sara—I’m most awed by how they condense lofty sentiments and grand arrangements into such tiny songs. Most songs on The Con clock under three minutes, and not a single track cracks three-and-a-half.

  The Con’s songs are nervy and short—Ramones short, even—but where The Ramones largely limited their between-song banter to “1, 2, 3, 4,” the Quinn sisters get chatty. Very chatty. At their sold-out show last night at the Pabst Theater, Tegan lost herself in long tangents about her mother, life on the road and the tension between audience members who want to stand and those who prefer to sit. Sara was more reserved, save for a lengthy rant about Wisconsin accents. During her sister’s monologues, Sara largely played the straight man (which is ironic, of course, since like Tegan, she is neither.)

  Talk, talk, talk. The sisters love to talk. It’s likely a remnant of their early start in folk circles, where on-stage personality is as important as the actual music, but the capacity crowd at the Pabst Theater ate it up, gleefully hollering and cat calling throughout the sisters’ banter.

  In current alternative- and indie-rock circles, it’s now a faux pas to cheer too frequently or tooloudly at concerts—modern rock audiences are bred to be a polite, almost impassive lot, deathly afraid of standing out. Not so with Tegan and Sara’s rabid fanbase, who are either unaware of these unspoken conventions or refuse to play by them. I may admire Tegan and Sara, but much of last night’s crowd, apparently, lives for Tegan and Sara, and their boisterous enthusiasm and frequent interruptions held up the show nearly as much as the performers’ spoken digressions.


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