TEGAN & SARA + Lindy @ Cabaret La Tulipe

By Mikey B - The Lonesome Stranger - 02/19/2005

After a few years of hearing just how good Tegan and Sara are, I finally got a chance to see for myself whether or not they were worth the hype. This happened on Saturday when I busted my ass to get to “La Tulipe”. Actually, I got a lift to the show, but I assure you that this place is still pretty out of the way. Luckily my friend Franck’s apartment is three blocks from the place, so he ended up being my date for the night. He and his ex Amelie are the ones that have been raving about T&S to me for years, so it was nice to go to the show with a big fan. Even though I’ve been to most every concert venue in Montreal, I did rather enjoy the coziness of La Tulipe. Small, intimate and as a walked in, I had just noticed the way the stage lights blended in perfectly with the second hand smoke. Very pretty.

Opening for the duo was a three-piece from Toronto named Lindy. Simply put, they were a breath of fresh air from the usual mediocre opening acts. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a sweet set of pipes, frontman Lindy Vopnfjord serenaded the crowd for a good 45 minutes of sweet organic folk rock. If Thom Yorke had a 7-foot tall Swedish cousin, it’d be this guy. Their voices and vocal ranges are very similar, but yeah, let’s not compare Lindy to Radiohead here. Anyways, for future reference, these guys are definitely worth checking out.

During the break, my friends and I basically just waited on the floor for Tegan and Sara to come out. These are the moments that seem to last forever, although this time it went by pretty quickly. Usually, clubs will play music during intermissions and most of the time it’s pretty lousy (although the Metropolis does play the Clash a lot). Anyways, I was able to listen to some great songs, most notably by the Flaming Lips, the Sounds and the Weakerthans. Finally, after a long wait, surrounded by short girls who wouldn’t find me attractive, those crazy Thompson Twins took to the stage. Hey, the real Thompson Twins weren’t even twins; they were three people who look creepy as all hell. Yes, I know, the Thompson Twins reference is completely unjustified, my bad.

Now, like most bands out promoting a new CD, Tegan & Sara’s setlist was comprised mostly of songs from their new highly acclaimed album So Jealous. Pity for me, and like many of the people there, So Jealous was the first album I’ve listened to in its entirety. I was pretty impressed; there’s a real vulnerability in their songs that’s just so sweet and encompassing. They mesh great love songs, with a sort of general insecurity about themselves, which is revealing and at the same time truly genuine. Seeing them up on stage, one gets the feeling of true authenticity with this band. They just seem like two real sisters that love to joke around and play music. There was a lot of great onstage banter between the sisters and the audience. Sara now lives in Montreal, and she had been telling us about her party that no one came to. The sisters were also busy pimping off other members of the band (Chris Carlson, Rob Chursinoff and Ted Gowans) and when they weren’t doing that, they were making fun of each other.

Before hearing their new record, I’d heard a couple of songs off their earlier records: “If It Was You” and “This Business Called Art”. They didn’t play too much from either album, but I wasn’t all that disappointed. If I were a longtime T&S fan, I think I might’ve been a little frustrated with the lack of oldies. My buddy Franck, who hadn’t listened to the new album, was a little downtrodden. I had asked him to help me out with the setlist since I didn’t know the band all that well. He was able to name 2 or 3 songs, and this guy has seen them at least 10 times over the last few years! Personal faves that were played were “I Bet It Stung”, “Where Does The Good Go” and “So Jealous”. The song “Monday, Monday, Monday” drew a pretty good response from the crowd, and well, it was one of the only earlier recordings I was able to decipher. During the encore, the sisters played an absolutely sparkling version of “Dancing In The Dark”, which capped off a terrific show.

[Mikey co-hosts The Lonesome Stranger on CJLO with Spanky G every Tuesday noon-2pm]