Home Live Review Live Review: Tegan and Sara @ 9:30 Club — 10/30/22

Live Review: Tegan and Sara @ 9:30 Club — 10/30/22

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Tegan and Sara

Tegan Quin performs at 9:30 Club on Oct. 30, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Twin sisters Sara and Tegan Quin were set to perform a recent intimate show at 9:30 Club, when a tickle in Tegan’s throat from the night before became full-blown laryngitis on the day of the show.

“This is our favorite venue in the whole wide world, and we’ve been waiting to play for you guys for three fuckin’ years,” Sara told the sold-out room at 9:30 Club, confirming that Tegan and Sara would indeed perform despite laryngitis.

“It’s going to be kind of weird,” she added, but they would use recorded Tegan vocals, and Tegan would play instruments on stage. “We are going to blow as much power as we possibly can and as much rock as we possibly can into the show.”

It worked out, and it worked out well, because the love in the room for Tegan and Sara was a palpable thing.

The audience was absolutely thrilled to welcome Tegan to the stage, where she gracefully allowed Sara to be frontwoman for the full evening on Oct. 30. Yet, Tegan was unflagging in her performances on guitar and keyboard. Everyone was there for it, cheering for her and practically swooning that this specific favorite musician was there, and she was ready to overcome adversity and keep the show going.

Tegan and Sara toured in support of Crybaby, their 10th studio album, published only a week or two previously by Mom + Pop Music. Tegan and Sara drew four songs from Crybaby across a 15-song setlist, beginning the concert with “I Can’t Grow Up” from the new album. Sara sang the garage-raucous song from the center of the stage, oddly clad in a fluffy sweater while Tegan played guitar in the back with Izzy Fontaine (or Isaac Bolivar if you prefer). At one point in the song, Tegan and Izzy rocked out so hard with dueling guitars that the audience gleefully yelped in response.

Watch the official music video for “I Can’t Grow Up” by Tegan and Sara on YouTube:

Despite her laryngitis, Tegan occasionally addressed the audience. For example, she set up the Crybaby song “Smoking Weed Alone” by describing how she tried weed for her birthday after recalling a pleasant experience with it when she was younger. “Sara smoked weed once in 25 years and wrote a whole song about it,” Sara quipped.

Tegan said the experiment with weed made her feel awful, and the unused portion of the weed still sits at home. “Smoking Weed Alone” incorporates the negativity of that experience by focusing on the desire to be alone as a means of moving on from an ordeal.

By sharing these autobiographical details, the twin sisters also created openings to reference their memoir, High School, published in 2019 by Simon & Schuster Canada. In October, Amazon Freevee aired an eight-episode series based on the memoir.

Alongside Crybaby, Tegan and Sara mostly showcased their albums So Jealous and The Con, the 2004 and 2007 records that served as their breakout vehicles. They drew three songs from each of those albums, performing highlight “Walking with a Ghost” from So Jealous near the end of the show and pinnacle tune “Back in Year Head” from The Con close to the very start of the concert.

“Waking with a Ghost” was as always a wonderful song for Sara’s soprano voice, and she sounded appropriately bright yet introspective for the number. This was a shift from the jauntiness of the new wave treble of “Back in Your Head,” where Sara’s pitch alternated between pleading and recollecting. She truly is a dynamic vocalist, and this 9:30 Club show was a lovely opportunity to explore her emotive range.

Watch the official music video for “Back in Your Head” by Tegan and Sara on YouTube:

During “Back in Your Head,” Tegan took to keyboards, and her turn there was playful and sparkling. As you can see in our pictures below, Tegan was moved to smiles by the audience’s warm embrace of her instrumental mastery, and also the crowd’s prompt acceptance of her condition, which gave her plenty of space to be an integral part of the show even without singing. Tegan’s confidence shined throughout the show, and the appreciative bonds between artist and audience grew appreciably.

Here are some photos of Tegan and Sara performing at 9:30 Club on Oct. 30, 2022. All pictures copyright Parklife DC.

Tegan and Sara

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