Tegan and Sara at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 10/28/17
In December 2016, indie musicians Tegan and Sara Quin launched the ‘Tegan and Sara Foundation’—this, which followed Donald Trump’s presidential win, came about after the sisters spent time reading fan letters and meeting with activists, researchers, legislators and nonprofits that focus on LGBTQ causes and issues. During their acoustic Vancouver concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday (Oct. 28), they were given a cheque for $4,000 by an audience member to go towards supporting causes in the LGBTQ community.
“We learned that the lack of federal funding for LGBTQ services, limited training for doctors about the needs of their LGBTQ patients and severe workplace discrimination are disproportionately affecting women,” wrote the Quin sisters in a statement about the new foundation last year. “Most importantly, we learned that LGBTQ women and girls are feeling overwhelmingly rejected and left behind.”
The Calgary, Alberta-bred twins have publicly identified as queer since their band’s formation in 1998. Their fund helps to raise awareness and funds for LGBTQ issues and organizations, using the popularity of Tegan and Sara and their music. Of every ticket sold for their current tour, $1 goes towards the foundation.
“LGBTQ women are experiencing disproportionately high levels of poverty, health issues and inequality,” stated the sisters. “LGBTQ women of color, especially transgender women often experience these issues even more severely due to racism and transphobia. Today, given the state of politics in the United States, we must continue to unite and fight for our rights and against all forms of oppression.”
Saturday’s Vancouver concert came on the heels of the duo’s first week of touring their 10th anniversary show for their 2007 The Con album—a moody but lovely look at the angst of 20-somethings. Both sisters joked about the album’s depressing themes throughout the show, as they played all 14 tracks from “I Was Married” to the heart-wrenching “Call It Off.” In recent years, the 37-year-old twins have gone into a more electronic pop realm with their music, but ‘The Con X: Tour’ had the sisters performing acoustic, with two band mates accompanying them on keyboard and guitar.
The sisters’ self-described “ying and yang” style of showmanship—Sara admitted to dragging the band “into the pits of hell”—offered up some much-needed comedic relief. Tegan and Sara were a joy to listen to in-between songs, with Tegan being relatively upbeat and Sara being the dark comedian of the two. In fact, the best part of the show was the Tegan and Sara chitter chatter. The music itself could have been more exciting. What The Con had was emotion. Despite the album’s short tracks and bare bones instrumentals, the sisters’ vocals expressed pain and frustration in a very beautiful way. This did not exactly translate on Saturday evening.
While Sara’s singing in “Now I’m All Messed Up” was a standout part of the evening, the sisters’ performances did not particularly stun. Even fan-favourites like “Where Does the Good Go”, “Back In Your Head” and “Closer” did not elevate the audience to a reaction beyond obvious love for the Quins’ personalities. The crowd at the Queen Elizabeth stayed comfortably in their seats throughout the entirety of the show.
But still, the night was a success because of the outpouring of support for the ‘Tegan and Sara Foundation.’ And the acoustic setting allowed for more banter than usual from the sisters, and that was a treat. They really are some darn loveable artists.
“I thrive when people don’t like what I’m doing,” said Sara in one of her charming rants. The singer’s nonchalant, venting-from-the-therapist-couch type chatter helped turned the show from basically boring, to cozy and fun.
“This feels like it actually matters, so thank you,” said Sara, expressing that the acoustic vibe made her and Tegan feel comfortable and happy with the state of the room. This was the duo’s first acoustic tour in a long time, and if anything, it allowed their true fans to feel more connected to them than at one of their usual, more contemporary concerts. But as for their music, Tegan and Sara’s discography has definitely received better treatment during other tours.