Dear Tegan & Sara,
Hey, great show last night at Cleveland Masonic Auditorium!
Sorry about the frigid temps. Couldn’t help you there. I know you mentioned during the gig how you’re both accustomed to the cold from growing up in Calgary, Canada—but that upon your arrival here in town the bitterness nevertheless prompted a few brrrs! It’s been that kind of winter, and I concur that warm-weather concerts are more fun.
Saw you back in the summer when you opened for fun. at Jacob’s Pavilion and realized that my teenage daughter would probably love you guys, so I had her join me this time out.
“How do you tell them apart?” she asked. “They’re like, from some cloning machine or something!”
After reminding Erin—whose middle name is Quinn, like your last names (plus an extra N)—that yes, that’s how twins work—I pointed out that, you, Tegan ,usually hang out at stage right and Sara presides on the left, and that Tegan has a tree-branch tattoo running down her left forearm and one of those lip piercings. I think she got it then, but her comment illustrated just how often newbies probably confuse you, especially since you both share lead vocals (when not harmonizing together) and switch on and off between keyboards, Martin acoustic guitars, and Gretch electrics.
And you both like wearing black, and have a thing for shoes. Cameras love you. Fans take to your photogenic qualities, how your hairstyles and cheekbones and ooze glamour. The kind of glamour you spell with a U. The kind that makes you wanna roll the R at the end when you say it, and maybe pooch your lips a little for show.
I digress. I was raised with twin brothers, but they’re fraternal. So I can’t really imagine the ups and downs, the advantages and drawbacks of having a doppelganger.
But hey, you don’t need me to tell you that having a musically like-minded look-alike has served you well over the last thirteen years—or however long it’s been since your first recordings, The Red Demo and Under Feet Like Ours. And it was touching last night when you marked the occasion of the tenth anniversary of So Jealous with us with another stirring rendition of “Where Does the Good Go.” Celebrating milestones in the company of friends is, well, awesome.
Oh, I’m not sure what prompted the concert to be rescheduled from its original December date. I read something online about a “family emergency.” None of our business, of course, but it’s our hope everything worked out alright in that regard.
The evening leaned heavy on material from your latest—and most accessible—disc, Heartthrob, with you and your band kicking off with an exuberant “Drove Me Wild” and touching “Goodbye, Goodbye.” Incidentally, congrats on the album’s critical and commercial success. You’ve received Juno nominations for it in a whopping four categories, so like, may the odds be ever in your favor come late March.
In enjoyed older cuts and backtracks like “The Con” and “Walking With a Ghost,” and was delighted by Sainthood hits “Alligator” and “Sentimental Tune.” My daughter favored upbeat new tunes like “Couldn’t Be Your Friend” and “Now I’m All Messed Up,” and I certainly can’t take issue with those choices. Heck, “Messed Up” is so good it has two refrains—the obvious, earnest “Now I’m all messed up” part and the bittersweet “Go, go if you want!” chorus, which you, Sara, contrasted nicely with plaintive cries of “Stay, please stay!”
“Nineteen” and “Arrow” were mid-sight highlights, and were nicely augmented by your impressive light show (featuring predominately blue and green gels). And that track you did with Dutch musician Tiesto a couple years back—“Feel it in My Bones”—was a nice surprise. Both Erin and I loved “Shock to Your System” and “How Come You Don’t Want Me,” and I must confess I was worried we wouldn’t get to hear the deliriously infectious “Closer”—that is, until you served up said song at the evening’s end. And allow me to speak for everyone in attendance at the Masonic when I say “Call It Off” (from 2007’s The Con) and “Living Room” (from 2002’s If It Was You”) were choice encores.
Heck, even your between-song banter was brilliant. Most front men—and women—are content to politely rattle off names when introducing their backup players. But the fun Sara had talking up the boys was indicative of just how close-knit your team is, and how important the guys’ contributions are. We roared when you, Sara, informed us drummer Adam Christgau had to fight past the “pain” of having worn brown shoes with black pants. A silly joke, coming from anyone else, but given your fashion sensibilities—chic, but comfy—a real zinger. Or when you expressed maternal concern for the band’s resident snowboarder, bassist Jasper Leak.
Guitarist Ted Gowans and keyboardist John Spence got off scot-free last night, but we imagine everyone receives his or her share of affectionate jibes over the course of a lengthy tour—a tour like the one you just started with us in Cleveland yesterday.
You two have played Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and SXSW. You’ve opened for Weezer, Jack Johnson, City and Colour, The Black Keys—and recently shared the stage with Taylor Swift. But it looks like you’re poised for an even more killer 2014. As if Heartthrob weren’t triumphant enough, you’ve got new songs featured in both The LEGO Movie (“Everything is Awesome”) and that Endless Love retread (“Don’t Find Another Love”). And you’ll be opening for Katy Perry on her Prismatic Tour this Spring.
Don’t run yourselves ragged! Stay safe, be healthy, and bank some of that energy and charm for another trip to the Lake Erie Shore later this year, when the mercury’s risen a bit more than, say, zero.
Give our best to Kent, Ohio native-gone-Nashville, Jessica Lea Mayfield, whose support set improved with each song—especially when she finally let rip with her electric guitar. Jessica tried engaging us, saying “Yo!” and asking “What’d you guys do today?” but I must say she sounded, well…high. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, and she was merely feeling a little aloof. Understandable, given the soul-crushing weather outside and the somewhat off-putting echo of the Masonic’s cavernous interior.
We’ll be sure to check out Ms. Mayfield’s new ATO Records release, Make My Head Sing, when it drops in April. Her debut With Blasphemy So Heartfelt was a head-turner, and 2011’s Tell Me showcased more impressive songwriting from the still-in-her-young-20s singer. And we’re not biased just because Akron’s own Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) produced it.
Listen, you’re probably already doing sound check in Meadville by now, so we’ll let you go. Just wanted to fire off a note to say thanks for making good on your date with our humble (if ice-coated) metropolis last night. Our hearts were thawed—even if only for a little while—and our spirits uplifted.
Rake ‘em in at the Junos, ladies.
All the Best,