words + photo by Joe Cortez
If there was any question lingering in the corners of your mind, let Monday night's epic show at The Sunset Strip's fabled Roxy Theatre leave no doubt: Tegan and Sara are a certified pop band. After flirting with the genre on songs such as "Speak Slow," "Back In Your Head" and "Alligator" and taking a bold step with 2013's "Heartthrob," the sisters Quin have fully embraced their shiny, happy sonic aesthetic, heralding a new era in their impressive careers and leaving their fans a frenzied, dancing mess in the process.
The duo's set on Monday night was their first performance in front of an audience in about 18 months and the Roxy crowd welcomed them back with an eager fervor. The show began as it ended with the sisters Quin standing alone, together atop a a riser, trading guitars. Kicking things off with the now classic "Call It Off," they then segued to a surprising acoustic version of "Now I'm All Messed Up" from "Heartthrob," signaling further reinterpretations of popular favorites to come including completely fresh takes on "Living Room" and "Walking With a Ghost."
A band like Tegan and Sara could be forgiven for giving their fans the same show with the same backing band tour after tour given their success and loyal following but it's clear the two have no intentions of resting on their laurels. The sisters introduced a new, stripped down touring band on Monday consisting only of a drummer and keyboardist. It was an almost shocking change of pace to fans who had grown accustomed to the Quins' fairly consistent use of the usual suspects in a rock band, namely: guitars but this was their chance to announce to the world, "This is who we are now," tradition be damned.
Of course, the chance to be among the first to hear songs from the much anticipated upcoming release, "Love You To Death" was not lost on fans and the ladies obliged with performances of "U-Turn" and "Boyfriend" as well as debuts of the upbeat "Stop Desire" and achingly wistful "100x," whetting the appetite for more to come when the album drops on June 3 (via Warner Bros. Records).
It's been so thrilling for me to see these two young women grow and change since first becoming acquainted with them with 2004's "So Jealous," challenging their fans, defying expectations and carving their own path with each new album and if Monday's performance was any indication, I can't wait to see and hear what's next.