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Story and Photos by Matt SchwenkeTaking a turn away from their folk/punk rock beginnings and stepping further into a pop rock realm, the Canadian, identical twin sisters Quin, known as Tegan and Sara, have amassed an exceptional following following the 2007 release of their fifth album The Con, filling the Pabst Theatre no less, but their live show revealed the struggles of a band trying to be two different personalities at once. While the group's rabid fans, many of which were in attendance with their parents, ate up Tegan and Sara's mix of quick, fiery bursts of song and long, rambling bits of banter in between, the performance became disjointed and lacked appeal for non-fanclub members of the audience.
The performance was not hindered by the way the band played-- Tegan and Sara executed multi-instrumental talent with ease throughout the night while a well-tempered backing of bass, guitar and drums supported the duo's varying intensity. The title track of their latest album and "Back In Your Head" represented the group's best pop rock offerings of the evening with the twins adding a mysterious pulse to the rock formula, while the folk haunting of "Walking With a Ghost," which was famously covered by the White Stripes on an EP in 2005, represented the best from the group's folk/punk offerings. Other standouts included the rollicking "Like O, Like H" and "Nineteen."
But what seemed like constant interruptions to the setlist-- tangents about Wisconsin accents, unicorns, and announcing they were superdelegates in determining whether the audience should sit or stand-- Tegan and Sara's more rocking tunes lost their luster with the storytelling approach between, and the quieter moments were lost to interruptions from screaming fans geared toward rocking out. As in a folk show, where an act is expected to chat it up with the audience, Tegan and Sara made an attempt at marrying the approach with the straightforwardness of a rock show, where the music does the talking, but ended up in some unsettled middle ground.
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