Tegan and Sara Drew a Sparse, Stationary Crowd to the Miller Lite Oasis Thursday Night
Tegan and Sara performed at the Miller Lite Oasis to one of the tiniest crowds a Summerfest headliner has seen this year.
It happened to be in the upper 80s Thursday night, which is likely the reason that so few people showed up for the concert. At 10 p.m. sharp, the electro-pop duo emerged onstage. Decorated with a colorful background and inflatable letters reading “T&S,” the bright setup mirrored the band’s artistic aesthetic perfectly.
The small crowd at least had the energy to stand on the bleachers while the band performed, but hardly anyone was moving except to take sips of their drinks. Cheers for the band were loud and enthusiastic, but the lack of dancing made it hard to tell that anyone was having a good time.
The first song to receive a physical response was “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend.” Tegan, Sara and their backing band performed the song with great ease, and their singing voices sounded just as pure in reality as they do through a pair of cheap headphones. A few fans were singing along to every word, and it was reassuring to see some excited diehards who braved the muggy elements to attend the show.
Tegan and Sara do a great job of disguising melancholy lyrics under irresistible pop beats. Their songs are undeniably catchy and entertaining to watch live, but their inability to hype up the crowd did not play well in their favor. To be fair, it’s hard to get anyone excited about anything in 90-degree weather.
“You Drove Me Wild” finally brought some energy to the sweaty crowd. During the performance, a crowd member loudly quipped, “There’s no such thing as a casual Tegan & Sara fan.” This is probably true; audience members closer to the stage were far more engaged than those near the sides or back, who didn’t seem to be focused on the band in the slightest.
The majority of their set drew from Heartthrob and their most successful LP to date, The Con. Most of the songs off Heartthrob sounded very similar, and the lack of variation was again not doing the band any favors. “Nineteen” was one of the night’s most emotional performances, and a few fans in the front row were shedding tears.
The band has a lovable sense of humor that was pleasing to experience live. “All the single people, put your hands up in the air,” Tegan said with a grin. “There’s lots of love to go around at a Tegan and Sara concert.” Another very emotional performance, “Hang Onto the Night” was dedicated to crowd members in the LGBT community. “We’re very proud to be openly queer artists,” said Sara before diving into the track.
They finished up their set with “Closer,” asking the thinning crowd to give them all they got. After being practically begged to move, more people were responsive to their pleas and danced for most of the four-minute song. A few raindrops began to fall as people were finally grooving, giving the show a well-deserved climactic finale. “I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical” the sisters sang, in a perfect send-off for the night. The show was far from a conventional Summerfest gig with its small, diverse crowd and socially aware artists. Even though it may not have been the most exciting show in Summerfest history, it was surely a refreshing change of pace.