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Show Review: Tegan and Sara & What's Eating Gilbert
Show Review: Tegan and Sara & What's Eating Gilbert
09/15/13 at 09:19 PM by Ryan Gardner
Tegan and Sara with What’s Eating Gilbert
Stubb’s Austin, TX on September 13, 2013

Check out all my photos from the concert here.

Having only seen Tegan and Sara live one time before (and at that, just a short SXSW set), I couldn’t wait to see the sisters on a hot outdoor evening. This show had been on my calendar for months, and once I saw that What’s Eating Gilbert were opening, I was anticipating it all the more.

Chad Gilbert (of New Found Glory) and the rest of the What’s Eating Gilbert crew took the stage clad in their classic ensemble of suits, skinny ties, and collared shirts. Just as energized as when I had last seen them at South By, the band immediately jumped right into the eleven song set. The simple and easy to sing along to “Thinkin’ Bout Her” woke the crowd to start the set off. What followed was a set blending punk influences with some pop-punk and straight up rock ‘n roll. The old-fashioned “What I’d Do” had Gilbert opening up about high school, while “Good Lookin’” was cranked up a notch to suit the live environment. To end the set, the crew jumped into a cover of “Pretty Woman” that was highly entertaining and well-executed.
Thinkin’ Bout Her
What I’d Do
Like It’s The Last Time
Come On, Let’s Go
I’ve Got You
I Still Miss Someone
Good Lookin’
Dear God
Bars On The Weekend
Pretty Woman (cover)

Tegan and Sara took the stage to blue and white flashing lights, an intricate Heartthrob backdrop, and a sold out show. The sisters then dove into an almost twenty song set. The set included a great variety of material, including a lot of Heartthrob material obviously, but also many older cuts, such as “Nineteen,” “The Con,” and the fantastic encore of “Living Room.”

Looking back, it’s really amazing how much emotion the Quin sisters can put into these songs on the stage. Early on in the set repetition of “Goodbye, goodbye” rang with sorrow and heartache, while later the cries of “I just want back in your head” contrasted with the twangy guitars to really ring through the crowd. That’s the thing about seeing this band live – the emotional is incredible. You really realize this when hearing older songs like “The Con” and “Where Does The Good Go.” The former contained more emotion than any song of the night, and the chemistry between the sisters throughout the sharp-tonged tracks was remarkable. Tegan reached a near scream each time she sang “I need to be taken down,” and the energy flooded the stage. The track was easily the show’s highlight, to say the least. While the recorded versions of these songs are great, the live performance is just beyond comparison. The sisters’ skills as vocalists have grown tenfold in such short time.

As expected, “Nineteen” and “Closer” were crowd favorites throughout the set, each song ringing out among the entire audience. While all of the newer, synth driven and upbeat songs came across wonderfully on the stage, the acoustic and softer numbers are where the skill of Tegan and Sara as vocalists really found its ground. The penultimate “Call It Off” carried a whirlwind of emotion as the sisters hauntingly sang, “Maybe I would have been something you’d be good at.” Similarly, as noted with “The Con,” the live version of “Shock To Your System” was considerably louder and more emotion fueled than on the recovered version. The repetition of “What you are is lonely” sung out at full volume was absolutely haunting. Moments like this make you realize how truly talented these twins are – they can switch from upbeat pop to heartbreaking acoustic or emotion fueled choruses in an instant and with perfect chemistry.

Talk about an unforgettable performance. I could talk in circles all day about how much emotion Tegan and Sara put into their live show, but you probably already know if you’re seen them or heard their records. 14 years in and the Quin sisters have truly never sounded better. Not to mention the perfect mix of old favorites and new tunes crafted the ideal set list. Between What’s Eating Gilbert’s always entertaining and rocking performance to Tegan and Sara’s unwavering chemistry, emotion, and control, this was a night for the books.
I’m Not Your Hero
Drove Me Wild
Goodbye, Goodbye
Back In Your Head
The Con
Walking with a Ghost
I Couldn’t Be Your Friend
Now I’m All Messed Up
I Was A Fool
Sentimental Tune
Where Does The Good Go
Shock To Your System
How Come You Don’t Want Me
Feel It In My Bones
Call It Off
Living Room

Check out all my photos from the concert here.

-Ryan Gardner
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