April 14th, 2010 | by ARYA IMIG Music | Posted In: Live Cuts

Live Review: Tegan and Sara, Thursday, April 8 @ Keller Auditorium

     
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Tegan and Sara"We come from socialist Canada. You can stand up if you choose to," declared Tegan Quinn after the opening song of Tegan and Sara's Thursday night performance at the Keller Auditorium. A crowd of over 2,000 fans stood up almost instantly and stayed standing for the remainder of the show. On the last night of the current leg of their tour behind newest album Sainthood, the duo was backed by a three piece band featuring guitar, bass and drums. Tegan and Sara themselves switched between electric and acoustic guitars and keyboards. It was also a homecoming of sorts, as Sainthood was co-produced by Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla and the group's previous effort, The Con, was recorded with Walla here in town.

While Tegan and Sara's earliest material was often labeled as "folk punk," the group has now evolved to become a full on rock band. You could their music pop punk. Tegan and Sara's best work is carried by the sister's strong harmonies, hanging somewhere between impish and angelic, with the songs themselves matching intimate confessional lyrics that are personal yet universal with sweeping anthems and dark brooding ballads.

Though they displayed both humility and genuineness over the course of their two hour set, there's no getting around the fact that Tegan and Sara are bonafide rock stars. Keller Auditorium, normally home to opera, ballet and theater events, ended up being an apt location for the spectacle of the group's performance, their tiny voices thanking the enraptured audience after every song.

Perhaps because of the ease with which we are able to access it, music ends up being the one art form we attach feelings and situations to that we can return to with the most frequency. It's always an interesting exercise to approach music we associate with certain times in our lives years after those times, and see what it feels like in a completely different context. When Tegan and Sara opened their encore with a stripped down version of the group's breakout 2007 hit, “Back In Your Head"—featuring Sara on an acoustic guitar and Tegan on a glockenspiel—it hit me maybe even more than a full band version. It is the surest measure of a strong songwriting that you can hear the mastery of the song regardless of the arrangement. If "Back In Your Head" is any indication, then Tegan and Sara are surely masters of pop songwriting.

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