Distressingly little dancing was done at Tuesday’s dance concert at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. Tegan and Sara and most members of the audience of more than 500 were strangely static at the Canadian duo’s show.
Identical twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin are touring in support of “Love You to Death,” an irresistible album of beat-heavy pop. The recording represents a continuation of the duo’s audacious pivot from a run-of-the-mill indie-rock ensemble to a discerning pop act.
Soon after releasing their first album in 1999, the sisters were embraced by alternative rock fans. They’ve since made a startling transition into contemporary pop music. Tuesday’s show indicated that Tegan and Sara haven’t entirely come to terms with their new approach.
With no instrumental embellishments, compelling vocal adornments or alluring visual effects, the lifeless performance was markedly inferior to the duo’s fine recorded output.
The sisters and three supporting musicians recreated songs with the joyless diligence of workers on an assembly line in their 100-minute outing. Aside from infrequent shimmies, the sisters’ immobile comportment belied the celebratory music. Fans mirrored their inertness.
The band sounded like a hyper-intelligent version of Britney Spears on “Back In Your Head.” The conventional Top 40 style of “Faint of Heart” made the hits of mainstream pop stars like Selena Gomez seem comparatively avant-garde.
Tegan and Sara’s sexual orientations occasionally added intriguing subtexts to otherwise innocuous songs. As they sang “why don’t you want to show me off” on the Justin Bieber-esque “How Come You Don’t Want Me” and “I don’t want to be your secret anymore” on the peppy ditty “Boyfriend,” the openly gay sisters addressed challenges faced by many of their fans.
Sara Quin dedicated “I Was Married” and “BWU” to “all of the accomplishments of the LGBT community” and hoped that the songs about marriage equality would act as “a gentle reminder of all that needs to be done.”
The British artist Shura steered clear of social issues during her 40-minute opening set. Although she sounded uncannily like 1980s-era Madonna on delightful songs like “2Shy,” Shura also failed to inspire dancing.
In an unsuccessful effort to muster enthusiasm in the tranquil audience, Tegan Quin said that she hoped that “something could happen out there that could make this go from good to great to fantastic.” Discerning members of the audience would have settled for decent.
TEGAN AND SARA SETLIST
Back In Your Head
I Couldn't Be Your Friend
How Come You Don't Want Me
Faint of Heart
I Was a Fool
Shock To Your System
Walking With a Ghost
Call It Off
I Was Married
Hang on to the Night