Tegan and Sara / An Horse Metro Centre, Halifax, NS, January 27

Tegan and Sara / An Horse Metro Centre, Halifax, NS, January 27
After nearly 12 years of songwriting and touring, Tegan and Sara Quin have achieved the type of fanbase that will cling to them through thick and thin, like mollusks to rocks in a tide pool. Similar to Ani Difranco or Tori Amos, they will always enjoy a loyal following, regardless of the quality of their future output. And although the Metro Centre show may have lacked the live intimacy the duo is known for, the venue (switched over from Dalhousie's smaller Rebecca Cohn Auditorium) didn't take anything away from the music itself.

This show marked the last stop of the pair's Canadian tour, and the audience was clearly chomping at the bit. The mere mention of the twins' name by the cute and sincere openers An Horse inspired screams of adulation.

After a quick and efficient changeover, Tegan and Sara strode onstage with their three-piece band, and camera phones flipped open throughout the crowd like the proverbial lighters at a Skynyrd concert. The Metro Centre was set up to resemble the coziness of the Cohn, with rows of chairs set up on the floor and the band tightly clustered at the front of the stage. The twins implored the people on the floor to stand up and dance as they barrelled through the lion's share of their latest album, Sainthood. Later, Sara gave a (backhanded?) compliment to an anonymous group of "futuristic dancers" at the front. "I promise I will dance like that in the privacy of my room," she said.

As catchy as the songs from Sainthood are, the best part of the show was when the duo launched into their earlier material, particularly songs from 2007's The Con. "Nineteen" sent a collective frisson of longing running through the crowd. During the encore, a sweet acoustic rendition of "Back Into Your Head" with guitar and xylophone, plus the classic stomper "Living Room," capped the evening off nicely.

The sisters kept the bantering at a minimum and seemed focused on the music, something that might have thrown off fans who live for the group's usual charming, meandering stories behind the songs. But walking out of the theatre, you could hear the small, sweet voices of girls singing "Hell" quietly to themselves. These melodies burn in the brain long after the lights have gone out, and this is proof enough of Tegan and Sara's strange, quixotic and everlasting power.