Tegan and Sara have always been outspoken. The Canadian indie-pop duo isn’t shy when it comes to a variety of topics, whether it’s bantering with the crowd (a staple of their live show) or talking about politics, which, being gay themselves, often includes conversations on LGBTQ civil rights.
These days, the twin sisters focus a good chunk of their crowd chats on encouraging people who may feel afraid, disenfranchised, or upset over the election of our new pumpkinheaded leader. Wednesday night in Fort Lauderdale, they told the crowd at Revolution Live that not only does “everybody deserves equal rights,” but “with our anger and activism we can also show empathy.” It was an inclusive, uplifting message that resonated with an audience that was in large part made up of people whose basic rights are threatened by the existence of an extremist president-elect.
Now, if only their music had been so clear and distinct.
Tegan and Sara put on a fantastic show last night at Revolution Live, but someone forgot to crank the volume up to eleven, instead leaving it at a paltry five or six. The venue has solid acoustics. A loud-as-hell band will always thrive there; just ask Gogol Bordello or NOFX, two bands of many to come through this past year and thrive. Unfortunately, something wasn’t quite right last night. Conversations between people standing next to one another were perfectly audible in normal speaking tones, which shouldn’t have been possible.
It’s a shame considering the direction the pair took their music these past two records. 2013’s Heartthrob and Love You to Death, their eighth album released this past summer, saw Tegan and Sara take a great evolutionary leap forward from quirky indie rockers to big, bright, mainstream pop songwriters. In fact, one of the most brilliant aspects of the new LP is the catchy, crossover appeal of songs such as “Boyfriend” and “BWU” that are not only radio-friendly but are cleverly subversive tales of lesbian love.
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That being said, despite the lyrics of a song like “Boyfriend,” which describes a love triangle involving a straight woman who still has a boyfriend but has fallen for another woman, and the anti-wedding sentiments of “BWU,” the themes of frustration, heartbreak, and loss that permeate a number of these newer tracks are universal in their allure to the ears of just about anyone.
On this, the final stop of Tegan and Sara’s American tour before heading off to Mexico, the songs couldn’t have sounded sweeter (if super low). No one appreciated it more than a room full of fans from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and “other,” as Tegan put it. It was truly one of the cheerier, friendlier crowds Revolution Live will see all year.
What the concert lacked in technical muscle, it more than made up for in charm and exuberance. The audience helped enrich the heft and power of each song to the point that it became a group effort. The bond between the band and its fans, whom Tegan and Sara routinely interact with, was entirely evident. Love You to Death isn’t only the title of a record and a popular hashtag (#LY2D) but a declaration of an everlasting relationship between these artists and their admirers.