May 272013

Courtesy of Dominic Phua and Now/Live

Part of their promotional tour for their latest album Heartthrob, Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara performed at the Esplanade Concert Hall on the 13th of May.

Apparently handpicked by Tegan and Sara themselves, homegrown singer-songwriter Weish delivered a memorable opening act that featured her signature searing vocals and electric looping shenanigans. Continually layering, looping, and effecting her voice into rich tapestries of songs, this reviewer thinks Weish is an act to watch, and a breath of creative fresh air in a local scene crowded with too many plaintive guitar-based songs from singer-songwriters.

There was a short break before Tegan and Sara came on, but that only served to work the crowd into an expectant frenzy, a frenzy that was understandable considering the band had been releasing music since the late 90s, but had never performed here before.

Perhaps it was a good thing though, for it was very clear that Tegan and Sara had an amazing sense of stage presence that could only had been honed with more than a decade worth of touring and gigging. The sisters played with sheer confidence and flair, and their vocals! Oh their vocals, sang and spun and flawlessly harmonized, were absolute treats to the captive audience.

Rapidly burning through a fair number of songs from their latest album, the stunning range and depth of Tegan and Sara’s musical achievements over the years was made clear when the sisters started working through their back catalogue. This was only scratching the surface, for they still had to squeeze in old fan favourites like ‘Monday, Monday, Monday’ into an acoustic medley during the encore. 

The sisters happily fed from the energy and enthusiasm of the audience too, and this clearly showed as they took longer and longer breaks in-between their songs to share anecdotes and banter with the audience.

All in all, the concert showcased the best aspects of the Quin sisters. Sharp yet searingly sincere songcraft, combined with an expert sense of live performance. It is not hard to see why they have lasted more than a decade, and with qualities like these, will last many more.

[Wong Zhanhui]

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