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Tegan and Sara’s Comfy ‘Con’

Vancouverites are possessive of Tegan and Sara. When the Calgary-born twins’ home base shifted over two years ago — Sara went to Montreal, while Tegan stayed in Vancouver — fans shuddered to think what might become of their favorite sister act. Thankfully, Tegan and Sara returned home for a two-night residency at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre last night (July 17), once more proving that home is where the heart is.

With a chatty entrance detailing the joys of passing notes, the Quin twins charmingly doled out nearly two hours worth of music — first the entirety of new album The Con played from back to front; second a mixed bag of standouts from previous releases. Vancouver was every bit the devotee, hushing during song breaks (no doubt poised for splashes of banter) and reigniting the old flame of Tegan and Sara with good-natured call and response. This was edged, as always, with quick, dry wit (Fan: “I heart Tegan!” Sara: “Tegan doesn’t understand symbols”), particularly when aimed at one another (Tegan: “Remember when Sara was quiet? She still is during the day, but she just erupts onstage.” Sara: “I save it for the people!”).

It’s clear that Tegan and Sara still delight in the experience of their shows, of having a forum to rip on one another and engage their fans. This time, they even had a corroborator: Mama Quin was in the audience, and more than one argument was settled with a “Right, Mom?” It was their living room, circa 1998, and it felt as comfortable [Tegan’s metaphor] as a pair of sweatpants.

Highlights from The Con included the trippy “Floorplan,” and album opener “I Was Married,” which saw Tegan relating the struggle to move her American partner to Canada, and the homophobia the couple encountered in the States. And while the banter was mostly loose and funny, this moment was its finest: suddenly you saw everything Tegan and Sara have endured to get from Calgary to The Con. A tighter, more mature, richer-sounding band emerged last night. “Remember when you wore puffy vests and played acoustic folk next to me in 1999?” Tegan quipped at one point. They’ve come a long way, baby.

We asked: In the spirit of Tegan and Sara’s forthcoming album, The Con, what would be your con?