June 30, 2014 Tegan and Sara enchant Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC 6-24-14
Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara continue support of their impressive Heartthrob album with the Let’s Make Things Physical Tour in 2014. With peak chart positions and winning the JUNO Award for Pop Album of The Year, the twin sisters celebrate with this headlining tour featuring support from The Courtneys and My Midnight Heart. Stopping at some of North America’s most beautiful venues, on Tuesday June 24th the historic Hammerstein Ballroom hosted the evening of music. The elegant backdrop of six shallow balconies and a beautiful mural on the ceiling, coupled with a sold out crowd, set the tone for a special evening to follow.
From Vancouver, BC, The Courtneys are a three-piece female band consisting of Classic Courtney (guitars/vocals), Cute Courtney (Drums/lead vocals), and Crazy Courtney (bass/vocals). With clever stage names, the audience was interested to see what this band was all about. Featuring guitar sounds reminiscent of classic alternative such as The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen, the vocals of the three Courtneys shined bright. Colorful and upbeat, their songs can best be described as retro pop rock with a touch of punk attitude. The Courtneys have something different to offer and this opening slot was the perfect chance to broaden awareness of their exceptional qualities.
Coming from across the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, NY, the band known as My Midnight Heart were up next and ready for a big moment at Hammerstein Ballroom. Led by Puerto Rican/American singer and songwriter Angélica Allen, the band took the stage, immediately attracting attention. Classy and smooth, Allen sang with grace and confidence in front of the large crowd. Having a flair for theatrics, Allen moved around like a veteran performer, all while keeping her edge with deep affections in her voice. Captivating and entertaining, one may even compare the vocalist’s stage presence to that of Lauryn Hill and singing range to that of Mariah Carey while still maintaining an indie rock sound. My Midnight Heart was spectacular and no doubt is headed for big things in the future.
After two exciting young artists’ showcase, NYC was ready for Tegan and Sara to take the stage. Having sustained a lengthy career which began over a decade ago, the two musicians did not see such broad commercial success until 2007 with The Con album. Now the darlings of indie pop lovers, Tegan and Sara are reaping the benefits of their hard work and passionate approach. With noise levels reaching peak volumes in the cathedral ceiling of the ballroom, the two musicians came out onto the stage beginning with the danceable “Goodbye, Goodbye”. Illuminated by a wall of lights resembling a connect the dots design, provided the perfect glow for the band as they marched on. Keeping the audience moving, and those in the balconies on their feet, the set moved along with an assortment of songs off Heartthrob including “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” as well as back catalog pieces like “Back In Your Head”, “The Con”, and “Walking with a Ghost”.
Coming across warm and personable with the audience, Tegan and Sara made the experience that much more enjoyable with smiles and engagement throughout the entire performance. Tegan traveled along from corner to corner of the stage as enthusiastic younger fans reached out to her as she made sure to acknowledge everyone equally. Her grace showed that putting on a memorable performance is a perfect balance of inspiring singing along with a delightful personality. Singing in a soothing matter, Tegan held everyone’s attention with perfect harmonies by Sara. Keeping things interesting and mixing them up, they played deeper tracks not heard live in some time with songs like “On Directing” and “I Know I Know I Know”. The synthesizers affectionate tone shined bright as they moved along with tracks such as “I’m Not Your Hero”, giving a modern vibe to a signature 80’s sound that Tegan and Sara are so evidently influenced by.
With a constant flow of energy reaching the highest balcony above, more Heartthrob tracks such as single “I Was A Fool” and “Now I’m All Messed Up” followed up with “Sentimental Tune” and Alligator”. The four-piece band providing further instrumentation behind Tegan and Sara kept that momentum going smoothly with strong performances by each member. Coming to a dramatic conclusion, the set wound down with the irresistibly body moving hit “Closer”. Exiting for mere minutes, the duo found themselves back out on stage in front of a screaming packed Hammerstein Ballroom for an encore led off by the short but sweet “Call It Off” where Tegan and Sara fed off one another sending warm sound waves out to all. Directly following, the beautiful “Dark Come Soon” was performed featuring acoustic guitars and subtle keyboards with a chanting of singing along coming from the audience. Erupting into cheers louder than at any time prior, the evening came to an end with a cover of Peter Townshend’s “Let My Love Open The Door”, brought in with Tegan and Sara’s own unique style.
This was a concert experience filled with electrifying song selection, immense sound quality, magical stage lighting, and most of all an unprecedented performance by Tegan and Sara. Their ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seat all night long is remarkable. Tegan and Sara continue to tour all summer long and capture the imagination of audiences worldwide.