Concert Review: Tegan and Sara

Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, April 10

Hitting Las Vegas just two nights before a high-profile gig at Coachella, twin-sister act Tegan and Sara could have treated this show as a glorified tune-up. But they are far too sincere for that. Instead, they bared their hearts for 90 minutes to a crowd that absorbed every musically induced emotion and reciprocated in kind.

They opened with four tunes from their latest album, Heartthrob, a slight departure from their previous six releases in that the songs yearn for a bigger audience with their radio-ready beats and hooks. The new tracks seemed more nuanced and fully developed in the live setting, as the Quin sisters traded lead-vocal duties throughout the night, backed by a four-piece band, with Sara taking the first shift on “I’m Not Your Hero” before Tegan dedicated “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” to “all the crazy ex-girlfriends and boyfriends out there.”

“The Con” and “Arrow” flashed back to full-blown ’80s new wave with their heavy synthesizers and electronic beats, while “Walking With a Ghost” and “Back in Your Head” proved equally enthralling despite their relative simplicity. Introducing “Love They Say,” Tegan asked if anyone was in love, before adding “Is there anyone here super sad and going through a really bad time? I don’t want to leave anyone out.”

The Canadian twins turned the Cosmo pool into a “little bit of a dance party” with songs “Alligator” and “Drove Me Wild,” as pulsating keyboards and disco rhythms lifted the already-enthusiastic crowd even higher. After performing their latest single, “Closer,” the sisters returned unaccompanied—Tegan on acoustic guitar with Sara on vocals—for “Call It Off“ before the band returned for “Feel It In My Bones.” It was an unabashedly honest performance by the sisters, who continually voiced their appreciation to the crowd, offering an authenticity that wasn’t lost on those listening. ★★★★☆

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Before their show at the Cosmo, New Order was one of the least engaging live bands I’d seen. I last saw them live in their heyday—late 1987, following the release of Substance—and with the exception of Pater Hook, who wore his bass low on his body and hunched over like a caveman to play it, I’ve never seen a sheer personality void so perfectly embodied onstage. I mean, keyboardist Gillian Gilbert ate a fucking sandwich in the middle of the set.