In The Flesh...Tegan and Sara w/ An Horse @ The Burton Cummings Theatre

>> Saturday, 16 January 2010

“They should have seatbelts,” declared An Horse frontwoman Kate Cooper Thursday night while gazing wide-eyed up at the Burt’s terrifying second balcony.

Perhaps. But if they get seatbelts, us first balcony lot should get helmets. Just ask the hapless young woman next to me. A 3/4s full plastic bottle of iced tea landed smack on her head, tossed down by some thoughtless (or careless) second balcony rube. Don’t worry. She was okay. Just shaken up.

Overall though, Thursday night’s Tegan and Sara sold-out show at the Burt was a sure-fire thrill. The Quinn twins proved themselves confident and winning performers, easily confirmed by all 1600 of the youthful, highly excitable, and largely female crowd.

Now I’m a self-confessed late attendee to the whole Tegan and Sara soiree, showing up just in time for Sainthood. Despite my prominent unfamiliarity – it felt odd and, well, wrong not whooping and hollering when a hit materialized – the many arena-ready power-pop tunes were hooky, familiar and instantly likable. The global themes of love, caring, and relationships the girls explore in their stylings are handled with tenderness and thought. No lazy clichés here.

Not one to shy away from the microphone, the quirky Tegan often entertained with stories that served as segues into the next song. These brief tales about the girls’ creative process, first visit to Peg City 12 years back, or mother’s reason for not wearing green (it’s a young person’s colour), were fun and confessional, a tip of the hat, if you will, to VH1 Storytellers. Unfortunately, this rest in between songs encouraged the teenaged attention-magnets up front to repeatedly interrupt Tegan’s winsome storytelling. “You guys are so annoying,” she blurted before tactfully adding, “but I love your energy.”

It’s clear why the Tegan and Sara fan ranks have swollen with each return visit.

Australian indie-pop pair An Horse – singer/guitarist Kate Cooper and singer/drummer Damon Cox – jumpstarted the evening. Despite their economical two person drums ‘n guitar set-up, the Aussie’s dynamic sound filled the Burt to its meniscus, often sounding large and loud enough to be the product of three-to-four band members.

One could almost say the event required a seatbelt.

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