Ballet for Your Grandparents – Tegan and Sara at Alix Goolden Hall

26 09 2009

DSC_0264An hour before Tegan and Sara, there were over two hundred people lined up outside Alix Goolden Hall. They were lined up far enough to block the entrance to the Metro theatre. Event organizers walked up and down the line informing people that they likely weren’t going to get in. No one left.

I asked a doorman how many people he thought were going to get in.

“Twenty,” he said. And after a pause, “maybe.”

A half hour into the set, there we’re still about an hundred people outside. An hour and a half in, a group of twenty or so girls huddled on the stone steps in front of the door, which organizers had left open so they could still listen.

I suppose in a way I wanted to dislike Tegan and Sarah. The music snob in me wanted to be able to talk down about the headliner. I didn’t want to like them.

But, I couldn’t help it.

DSC_0297The audience cheered when Tegan and Sarah came on stage. They cheered louder when the band joined them. By the time they played the first few chords of Walking with a Ghost, I couldn’t hear anything but screaming. I could only tell the song had started because I could see that they were strumming.

The sound was off for the first few songs- too rough- but some behind the scenes tinkering evened everything out quickly, in a way at least.

Tegan announced quickly that she had a cold, and had taken a bunch of cold medication. Then, some coffee to combat the fatigue. Then, some energy drinks to ward off the crash of the coffee. She and Sara talked about not having played live for months, and how they’d both badly screwed up in the first few songs. Strangely, it didn’t make their set worse. It made it better.

The strength of their set came from their between song banter, which took up nearly a third of the set. The joked easily back and forth, clearly excited to be back on stage for the first time in a while, and back in Victoria. They teased each other relentlessly.DSC_0285

They also debuted a handful of new songs from the album. Tegan introduced a new song of hers, “Hell,” which she expressed a great deal of trepidation playing in a church, especially for the first time. “Seriously, we’re not religious,” she maintained. Afterwards Sara introduced one of her new songs, “Redbelt.” Tegan spent five minutes prodding Sara to explain the name. Sara half-heartedly called it a reference to the David Mamet but refused to give the real explanation. Those who know the term will understand why.DSC_0267

They played half about half a dozen new songs from the album in their nearly two hour set. They played old favourites like “The Con,” and “Back in Your Head.” They laughed on stage. Tegan fellated her index finger in an effort to calm her itchy throat. She asked for a doctor. Sara said “fuck” onstage, and then revelled in her ability to do so. “That’s what I love about Victoria. I can say “fuck” because it’s natural. It’s organic, like tofu and yoga. It’s alright because I made it.” “We love you,” someone shouted to them.

“We really, really like you too,” Sara answered. “I don’t want to say love.DSC_0272 That’s such a strong word, you know? But you’re nice. We trust you. We know that we can always come and play here and you can’t hate us. It’s like doing a ballet for your grandparents. Even if you don’t like the act, you still basically have to love us. We’re like the cat that get’s the weird hair-falling-out disease. You might hide it in the den when company comes over, but you keep it. We’ve been through too much together now.”

Overall the band played for about two hours, getting through a significant chunk of their discography. Not everyone could make it into the event, but Tegan and Sara made sure that everyone who got in left satisfied.

-Adrian Markle

Photography by Casey Bennett

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4 responses

26 09 2009
jj

Well, I found the sound to be just perfect for the first few songs… but I was sitting upstairs. The sound was only off a little on some of the louder songs. Both “Hell” and “the Cure” were fabulous songs.

I have never been a very big fan, but this show sure won me over. The banter really made the show. It made it for the opener Aiden Knight (?) I believe as well. He was so bashful and cute and unassuming – the audience loved him.

I wasn’t a big fan of “An Horse” though – they might have been a good band but I couldn’t tell because they had their instruments maxed so loud it was just a wall of sound – and the mics were low, to top it off.

Yay Rifflandia. Great festival.

26 09 2009
ksjlasf

It was tegan that said “we really, really like you too” not sara.

12 12 2009
B

“Afterwards Sara introduced one of her new songs, “Redbelt.” Tegan spent five minutes prodding Sara to explain the name. Sara half-heartedly called it a reference to the David Mamet but refused to give the real explanation. Those who know the term will understand why.”

What? Who understands what now?

14 01 2011
Wrobel

Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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