Tegan and Sara put on a show Friday night at the N.C. Museum of Art that felt more like a house party – one with great live music.
The Canadian pop duo kicked things off with some of their older songs and transitioned into newer ones. Although their music is heavily processed, Tegan and Sara both proved to be better live singers than one might expect.
When they sang together, they were at their best, especially on songs with tight harmonies, such as the dance-y “Closer.” Tegan also played a good acoustic rhythm guitar and showed a lovely upper register on “Living Room.” The songs sounded delightfully similar to what is heard on the record, despite their more recent work’s heavy reliance on electronics.
Highlights from the show were “Stop Desire,” “BWU” and “Nineteen,” a ballad about young love that was still haunting sung by 36-year-olds. Both “Stop Desire” and “BWU” showed Tegan and Sara at their best, creating pure, fun pop. Many in the audience sang along excitedly with “Stop Desire,” “BWU” and “Closer” especially.
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“I Was a Fool,” a standout from 2013’s “Heartthrob,” fell flat in a live setting due to a combination of pitchy lead vocals from Tegan and its slower pace.
From the band, Gabe McNair threatened to steal the show with his impressive keys and more impressive dancing, while Brendan Buckley offered upbeat drumming central to much of the duo’s recent work.
The crowd was filled with people in their twenties and thirties, often with young children, and wearing T-shirts with sayings like “gender is over.” Abstract art inflatables littered the stage, spelling out “T & S,” along with lots of colorful flashing lights.
Tegan and Sara had non-musical offerings as well, with funny banter between songs. They jokingly suggested that what Raleigh really needs is gender-neutral crosswalks by Crabtree Valley Mall. Sara gave a speech about how being in a relationship is overrated, although she herself has been in one for seven years.
“I’m not the love doctor, I’m just the person that thinks love is overrated and meant to die,” Sara said, causing fans to laugh.
The opening act for Tegan and Sara was an indie rock band called Vagabon. While the three ladies are clearly talented musicians in their own right, their style of music may not appeal to the average listener, with its heavily distorted guitar and Laetitia Tamko’s husky vocals.