Review – Tegan and Sara at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Feb 06 2009
– review by Shawn Conner
There’s a lot to dislike about the Broken Social Scene. They’re from Toronto, they give new meaning to the term clique-ishness (ironic considering the band’s name; or maybe not) and they have too many beards.
That said, Friday night I became a convert, at least where the live show is concerned. Spread out across the stage, with a number hovering around eight including singer/guitarists Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning as well as vocalist Lisa Lobsinger, the band charged through a set of big-beat fuzz rock with pretty melodies and enough moves to almost transform the Orpheum into a rock ‘n’ roll venue.
I left halfway through, but only because they started playing a ballad, and the beer store was going to close.
Tegan and Sara, opening with an hour-plus set, didn’t quite overcome the theatre’s chilly formality. But then there was probably no way to duplicate the vibe of the concerts, just around the time of release of 2007’s excellent The Con, at the much smaller Vancouver East Cultural Centre, or even the Commodore, where they played the last time the twins came to town.
Sara mentioned this was the last show after a 14-month stretch of supporting The Con, and the toll showed in the lifeless (for them) stage banter. There were some great rock moments though – “The Con” and “Back in Your Head” and “Hop a Plane”, and the fan favourite “Living Room”. The Quin sisters might just be too good at capturing quiet, intimate moments of anxiety and introspection, and those were the songs – “Dark Come Soon”, “Like O, Like H” – that seemed a little lost in the airy confines of the Orpheum. That though is just the price to be paid for seeing them in such a pristine setting.
The show, by the way, was part of a month-long “cultural olympiad” assembled by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC, which is French for “Running Out of Money”). I’m not sure what the connection is between culture and the Olympics, but I’m sure it has something to do with federal funding. And it’s not over yet; there’s another few weeks of music, theatre, performance, and Sarah McLachlan. Who knows, at some point even mascot Quatchi might pop up somewhere.