Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tegan & Sara - October 2, 2008 - Baltimore

This show was pretty fantastic. I'm not very eloquent when it comes to talking about live music as I'm usually seeing a band I love. I persuaded Laura to join me at the last minute so I'm sure her review will be less gushy.

Opening Acts: The opening acts were Girl in a Coma and City and Colour. I've heard of and heard Girl in a Coma before but I've never been too into them. I know that being an opening band is a bit of a weird place to be in, especially if the crowd is unresponsive. I don't know how the crowd took to them, to be honest. But I know I felt they put on a good show, tons of energy. City and Colour, which is just Dallas Green, he was good. But! I felt he was a bit out of place. He was an acoustic act with a bit of harmonica and it just did not fit in between the energy of GiaC and the louder songs T&S kickoff with. But that's just my take, as I said he was good and they crowd loved him and obviously as OC about mood and theme as I am.

Songs: The setlist was ace. They kicked off the show with "You Wouldn't Like Me" which is from their album "So Jealous" and ended with the ever popular "Back In Your Head." Sandwiched in between was a good mix of popular songs, old fan favorites, a cover, and even two "new" songs. The biggest "surprises" of the night (surprises in quotes as I'm a sneak and I tend to look at what artists have been playing at shows before the one I'm attending. I also read movie synopsis' before I actually view the movie, figures.) were "Superstar" and "The First."

These were both surprises as Tegan (who wrote and performed both) is pretty vocal about her dislike of these songs. Which makes sense, she wrote them before she could legally drink in the US and she has just turned 28... just like I don't connect with the person who wrote my 7th grade diaries. But, they are fan favorites and have been shouted out at shows for quite awhile. I guess the only way she could play these songs was to retool them, and that she did. She only played the "chorus" and a verse of "Superstar" with "Hop A Plane" as a lead-in (they share the same chord, one minored) which was a pretty good segue. With "The First" she totally changed the feel of the song. I say she but it was in fact Dallas Green who opened as City and Colour and used to be in the band Alexisonfire. He joined her onstage for a mellowed out "boy-girl vocals" version of the song. It was good, technically, but I think it was put in a weird place in the show as it felt a bit too mellow at the time.
The two "new" songs were "One Second" and "Give Chase" which were, again, Tegan songs. The songs are not technically new as "Give Chase" was written quite awhile ago and Tegan apparently soundchecks it at most shows. Serious fans have been wanting to hear it since someone recorded Tegan soundchecking it earlier this year. As far as I know there are no plans to make a studio release. As far as "One Second" goes, it's on their E.P "I'll Take the Blame," which was released digitally last year. I really wish they would play Sara's song from that E.P as well but we can't always get what we want! Anyway, "One Second" is an excellent song, it's a bit synthy which is always good for me as someone who is perpetually stuck in the 80's.

Looking back at what I've written this seems like it was The Tegan Show. Sara did perform less songs but she did great ones. Her shining moment was probably the cover of "Umbrella," both girls sing on this song but I always get the feeling that it's more of a Sara thing. Aside from that (which is a fan favorite, by the way) Sara did some songs of hers that I love. Aside from the obvious hits like "Walking With A Ghost" and "Back in your Head," Sara also did "Burn Your Life Down," "Floorplan," "Like O, Like H," and "Love Type Thing." The latter was Sara's surprise of the show as it's not really a usualy in their setlist. My favorite Sara song of the night was definitely "So Jealous," guess what album that's from.

Banter: If you know the slightest thing about Tegan & Sara you know a big part of their live show is the banter. People ask me how I can see them live a few times in a row* and a big part of it is the banter! It's like a comedy show AND a music show. Of course I love the music but the banter is what really sets each show apart, you know you'll get different and amusing banter at each show. As I expected, tonight was pretty political (all in attendance were missing the VPs debate in favor of seeing TnS). Lots of jokes about what's going on in our country right now. The best probably being when some girl threw her bra at Tegan (which, btw, she brought an extra bra just for tossing) and Tegan insisted she take it back as "bras are expensive" and "you're in a recession right now." Sara also made a few amusing remarks there. I'm not going to try to quote them as I'm bad at retelling stories/jokes in person, I imagine it would be a trainwreck typed. It'll be on Youtube by the morning, I'm sure.

Overall, a fantastic show. Next stop: Philly @ The Electric Factory.