Through their art, Tegan and Sara Quin have shared their lives as an open book. Fans can relate to their childhood and teen years through their memoir, High School, which is now also a series on Freevee, and The Con provided solace for the heartbroken, coping with the whiplash of young love, with its earnest, expertly-crafted songs. The release of 2013’s Heartthrob marked a bold new era where pop songs proved to be the cure to all ailments.
With their latest release, Crybaby, Tegan and Sara have tapped into their past, present, and future combining the stripped down aesthetics of their earlier work with the glossy synth-pop shades of Love You to Death and beyond creating a sound that encompasses all the best of their songwriting styles with a new twist. During their Nov. 5 show at The Vic Theatre, Tegan and Sara introduced fans to this next chapter of their musical journey with a night full of hits, stories, and good times.
Opening the show with Love You to Death‘s “Stop Desire,” Crybaby‘s “I Can’t Grow Up,” and So Jealous‘s “I Bet It Stung,” Tegan and Sara celebrated their new material and its central place among their catalog of hits. “Back in Your Head” soon followed which prompted Sara to share that the duo’s early songs make her think about Chicago, a city she always associated with having a cool music scene.
“Any time we would go through a city with a cool music scene I would have this, not so much a fantasy, but a nightmare-hybrid that everybody I knew in the music scene would be at the show,” she said with a laugh later clarifying that Billy Corgan was among those intimidating figures she imagined could be in the crowd.
Sara went on to express her love of Chicago, a sentiment that Tegan echoed later in the night saying, “Like Sara, I also love it here. I find there’s something very special about Chicago. It’s great to be back here. It’s great to be back on stage honestly… To come back and be able to feel the joy of being in front of an audience again – It means so much to us that you come out and support us.”
One of the highlights of the set came when Tegan and Sara built upon the catchy classic “Walking with a Ghost” with an elaborate intro – accentuated by drummer Adam Christgau and guitarist Isaac “Izzy Fontaine” Bolivar – while “Nineteen” was dedicated to the show’s opener, Tomberlin. Crybaby standouts “Smoking Weed Alone” and “Fucking Up What Matters” got the crowd moving and Tegan shared that the latter track actually inspired the sisters to get their first-ever matching tattoos.
A new album isn’t the biggest change in Sara’s life. She and her partner recently welcomed a baby boy to their family and the now-four-month-old has been adjusting to a tour-life sleep schedule.
“Right now, he’s getting up about every 45 minutes,” Sara said. “It is wild. I am fatigued.”
Many artists chat with fans between songs, but it can feel performative when not done right. This is never the case with Tegan and Sara. Each time they address the crowd, it’s authentic and pure, further bonding artist and audience. From Tegan’s anecdote about spilling her drink in the Chicago wind to Sara sharing how Jack Johnson made rock-star parenting look easy to answering questions from individual fans, each chat brings everyone in closer to the very personal songwriting of the band.
Tegan and Sara have been playing music for 23 years and one thing they’ve learned is that they no longer have the patience for encores. Near the end of the set – rather than making fans wait for more music – they explained that they were going to dive right into an acoustic interlude beginning with “Where Does the Good Go.”
Crybaby may be the latest chapter in the Tegan & Sara story, but their inspired performance at The Vic showed that the best is still yet to come. Check out photos from the Chicago stop of the Crybaby Tour below and head over to Teganandsara.com for tour dates and more information.
(Photos by Laurie Fanelli)