Live Review Tegan And Sara, Troxy, London
Musically it’s absolutely flawless.
Sometimes in music you lose perspective. That new band that got a few daytime Radio 1 plays who you’re desperate to see at a festival and so rush to arrive super early actually end up playing to 20 people, their parents included. The producer who only has 200 followers on Twitter who you casually stroll up late to the venue to catch has already pulled such a crowd that it’s one-in-one-out. We live in a bubble.
An absolutely massive queue - ranging from teenage girls to middle-aged couples - shouldn’t come as a surprise for a Tegan and Sara show - but it is easy to lose perspective. You forget just how much of a hardcore fan base the Canadian sister duo have. Tonight they’re out - early, in numbers, and in force.
The crowd pile in for Waxahatchee, who’s joining the band for the whole of this UK and European tour. The recent Wichita signing previews material from her forthcoming ‘Cerulean Salt’ full-length - the songs’ largely delicate, folk-ish sound louder and less intimate with a full band backing than on record, but they’re still equally as affecting and utterly beautiful. The venue’s sound allows Katie’s vocals to shine, while bass and drums give songs an energetic and noisy kick.
While the crowd react positively for the support act the noise inside the venue takes a considerable step up when Tegan and Sara walk on. The sisters are backed by a four-piece band. Four synths sit dotted around the stage, and they feature heavily immediately; the first tracks tonight are all taken from the Canadians’ new, dancier ‘Heartthrob’ record. This is big, out-and-out pop - and if the well-rehearsed, highly-produced music didn’t give it away, the in-your-face lighting, accompanying visual backdrops, and seamless guitar changeovers just might.
The twins interact with the crowd in a natural, friendly manner - discussing their mum joining them on tour, London’s dangerous traffic, and challenging the crowd to respond more enthusiastically than in Manchester. The response is excited screams at the start of, during quiet points, and in between every single song - plus word-perfect sing-alongs when prompted. Musically it’s absolutely flawless. Everything sounds as it should.
While it’s a largely beat, synth-heavy set, the band also include plenty from their more rock-leaning back-catalogue. Though newer material sounds good, it’s tracks from ‘The Con’ (‘Back In Your Head’, ‘Nineteen’ etc) is where the band are at their strongest tonight.
Ending with an encore that the band hint will happen before they actually leave the stage, they return to play a medley mash-up of song choruses (which is probably the least enjoyable moment of the night) as well as a beautiful moment where the crowd sings ‘Call It Off’ back at them, absolutely word-perfect. ‘Thank you for not making us the same,’ say the band at one point during the evening, ‘and thank you for letting us change’. They have nothing to worry about. Their fans are going nowhere. And it’s easy to see why.
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