Broken Social Scene / Tegan and Sara Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver BC February 6
Published Feb 09, 2009It speaks to Tegan and Sara's appeal that, while their live show has remained more or less unchanged the past few albums, the twins are still a draw. This gig promoting Vancouver 2010's Cultural Olympiad was the last on a lengthy tour for The Con, and road fatigue was creeping in; however, T&S still emanated the charm that witty banter and pitch-perfect pop lend. To have watched Tegan and Sara these last ten years is to have witnessed their evolution from sloppy teen folkies into assured, tightly-coiled rockers, whose command over their material grows more nuanced as they, well, grow up. The set drew from the last three albums. In the acoustic paradise of the Orpheum, every sound matters, and the girls - and their comfortable band - wasted little. A new song, "Give Chase," prompted a back-and-forth about Tegan's vocals (angel or animal?), and sounded like there's an intriguing Annie Lennox-via-Björk trick up the duo's future sleeve. There were parallels between the two bands on the bill - BSS are also ending a tour, and they, too, seem a bit frayed at the edges. Kevin Drew also cheekily name-dropped VANOC. Beyond that, however, similarities end, and another mirror was raised, that of BSS past vs. BSS present. There's no doubt that the records hold up, particularly 2002's You Forgot It In People, but nowadays Broken Social Scene are less a collective and more a clump of individuals that happen to be together at a given moment. Still, those individuals dazzle, except the annoyingly kittenish Lisa Lobsinger, whose handling of "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl" squeezed it dry. The highlight was Do Make Say Think's Charles Spearin and his "Happiness Project," which pairs recorded speech with musicians who play the melody of the speaker's voice. It was a moment that united the individuals back into pure collective joy, something BSS didn't seem to be finding on their own.