Tegan and Sara go pop!

Tegan and Sara was one of those bands that I had heard of for many years but never listened to until I saw them open up for Death Cab for Cutie at the Hollywood Bowl a few years ago.  Frankly, I thought those days were behind me.  The days when I would go to a show and hear a band I have never heard before and become a fan right there and then, but it happened with Tegan and Sara on that summer night.

So I was excited when I found out that they were going to be playing in LA and bought tickets for the show without even thinking about who would go with me.  A friend of mine was going to go, but at the last minute got ill so I went to the show by myself.  I had been to Club Nokia once a few years ago when my friend Roberta won tickets to a show.  They were some young band whom I had never heard of before and now I don’t even remember their name.  In fact I had totally forgotten about the metal detectors until I went into the venue on Friday night.  Club Nokia has to be one of the only music venues I have ever been in that makes you go through a metal detector.  At the Palladium they have a hand wand that they use if needed, but a metal detector I don’t understand, especially for an indie band.

The first good news of the night was the fact that the Staples Center was not in use and I was able to find parking for $5. The second good news of the night was the fact that I was easily able to sell my extra ticket to a nineteen year old girl who will probably remember that show for years.  The third good news would have to be that since the general admission floor was already full, I got to go upstairs and sit right behind the VIP section.  Clea Duvall (an actress) who I used to see at all the “girl band” shows sat down in the row in front of me and later I noticed Greg Kurstin (the guy who produced their new CD and who is in the band “the Bird and the Bee”) sitting in the same row.  Celebrity sightings aside, it was a fantastic show.  All the ladies were in the house.  I haven’t seen that many women at a show since early Sleater-Kinney and Le Tigre shows.  Having a female audience always changes the dynamic of the show.  The energy level is different (maybe due to all the estrogen in the room) and I feel safer at these shows.  Not that I don’t feel safe at other indie rock shows I go to, but the lack of males in the room makes it feel more communal at these shows.  I feel as if I could be on stage or that the music is speaking directly towards me compared to when I watch mixed or all male bands perform.

My friend John once told me that the reason he likes female bands is because they are not on stage in order to get laid.  He thinks their music is more authentic than male rock bands.  He might be right. Of course I just think he likes female bands because he might get laid. 😮  If there was a female band that exuded sexiness, it would be Tegan and Sara.  Maybe because their songs are mostly about relationships and their new cd titled “Heartthrob” is no exception.  In my mind, they are the most “male” female fronted band around with lyrics like “how come you don’t want me now?” and “all I dream of lately is how to get you underneath me.”  Most of the songs on the new cd sound very similar and have a lot of keyboard programming on them. A Greg Kurstin stamp that he places on all the material he produces.  I love their last cd “Sainthood” which Chris Walla produced (which is probably why they were playing with Death Cab when I first saw them). “Sainthood” has variation to it, while “Heartthrob” is monotonous.  Catchy, but monotonous none the less.  Live it works because the songs were mixed up and Tegan and Sara played songs spanning their last four albums on Friday night.  But as an album “Heartthrob” is not as strong as their older stuff.  The audience seemed to agree with me and cheered harder for their older songs.  As a band they decided to take a risk by going with a more pop producer and well the proof is in the pudding.  The question is going to be, where do they go from here?

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3 Responses to Tegan and Sara go pop!

  1. Robin says:

    Grrls to the front! I actually never got into Tegan & Sara. Granted I only have the sense of playing in front of people while doing karaoke or rockband at my friend’s house, but the sense of fame and power and attention is what feels addictive to me — especially if you’re wielding something like a guitar or drumsticks. I do like having women musicians to aspire to — I like that Beyonce’s backing band is all women, which she said she chose for that same reason. And I was even in awe of the little drummer girl from Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players — I got her autograph after their show at the Derby!

    And on the other end of the spectrum, both times I’ve seen Guided by Voices, sadly, they were such dicks on stage. Drunken assholes who acted like they were waving their dicks around for everyone to admire. A “boys’ show” in the worst way, and I felt largely disconnected from rather than a part of the music and energy.

    • Robin says:

      Just to clarify, I do karaoke at this bar in SF where my friend does britpop karaoke, and you’re in front of random strangers and friends, and I really enjoy it. Also in the front room at Club Leisure. I just did Charmless Man and Stutter last weekend :).

  2. cerulean74 says:

    Robin, one of these days I am going to have visit you in SF and we can go to britpop kareoke!

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