Tegan and Sara – Paradiso – 17.06.2010

I went to this gig not really knowing the music in advance. The impression I got from putting a few of their albums on Spotify in the background beforehand was that the songs were kind of repetitive, with choruses repeated over and over again. I think this works well sometimes – I did/do like Walking with a Ghost, a good example of the repetitive thing. But for the first half of this gig, which I gather was mostly filled with new material, I really couldn’t get into any of the songs. For me there was no real warmth to the music, or anything I could really engage with. Mind you, the packed in crowd on the ground floor were really enjoying it all.

The older material they did later in the gig seemed more fully formed. Better hooks in the choruses and more substantial verses. Musically the older songs were more varied and interesting too. My favourite part was the encore where the three fellas in the band left the stage, leaving Tegan and Sara with their acoustic guitars. That stripped back sound was more what I associated with them in my head. I believe that’s how they started out more than ten years ago, so maybe that’s the vague impression I formed of them somewhere in the past.

Other things:

  • More security than I’ve seen at any other gig in Amsterdam. Barriers setting the crowd back from the stage, with a guard on each side, and a security guard on stage throughout the whole gig. Very strange. (Was there some incident at a gig sometime that spooked them?)
  • Sara’s voice does start to grate after a while. She described it herself as an “angelic chipmunk”.
  • In between songs they took turns to tell long rambling stories that didn’t really go anywhere. I suppose it’s endearing if you’re a big fan, but I got a bit bored to be honest.

Not really my cup of tea then, but they are good at what they do.