Music

Review: Tegan and Sara celebrate diversity in London

Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara celebrate 20 years of music with an inclusive headline show at London’s Roundhouse.

An almighty cheer erupts as Tegan and Sara announce they’ll be playing a lot of older songs in tonight’s set. Having broken through with 2007’s The Con and most recently celebrated the release of last year’s Love You To Death, it’s seemingly easy to forget that the duo have eight studio albums under their belt. Their chosen songs celebrate the start of their commercial success, demonstrating both their pop sensibilities and their impressively personal songwriting.

The latter is elevated by the pair’s introductory anecdotes, reminiscing over the period in which the songs were written and laughing at their mum’s concern about their emotional welfare. They engage the audience wherever possible, lightheartedly interacting with the brokenhearted few in a throng of diverse couples. Perhaps the show’s proximity to Valentine’s Day is at play, but Tegan and Sara have certainly found themselves as a celebration of inclusive love.

Labelling the Roundhouse a safe space – fitting when considering the venue’s gender neutral and accessible toilets -, Tegan and Sara don’t hold back on their battle for equality. Sara makes a particularly poignant remark, noting that it’s no longer appropriate to only support one cause, and that their view has vastly expanded beyond fighting sexism and homophobia. It’s a view shared by tonight’s audience, who applaud and cheer with a heartfelt adoration.

The intimacy of their show runs throughout their support choices, handpicking powerful female songwriters who they have met before. Ria Mae opens proceedings with her minimalist pop, guided by her friend Steve whose musical instrument range is phenomenal. Main support Alex Lahey has recently joined the tour from Australia, presenting a storytelling ability way beyond her years, not least on the stunning lead UK single, Wes Anderson.

Lahey’s rockier edge sits proudly next to the headliners synth led pop, which in amongst the music’s serious message helps to turn the Roundhouse into an all-out party. Though it’s the delicate balance of heartbreak and celebration that cements Tegan and Sara’s unique style; one that instead of exploding the duo into the stratosphere, has instead created a truly dedicated and progressive fan base that’s an absolute pleasure to be part of.

Tegan and Sara continue their UK tour until Saturday 18 February. You can still grab tickets through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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