Tegan and Sara Bring New Pop Swagger To New York: Live Review

Best Bets Albums 2013, Tegan and Sara

Twin sister duo kick off North American tour supporting new album "Heartthrob."

Tegan and Sara have been playing pop music for years, but in 2013, the Quin sisters have started to get the look of true pop stars. A packed crowd of devotees at New York City's Beacon Theatre took in the opening night of the transformation, as the duo kicked off their massive 2013 tour (Feb. 19).

After the show was originally scheduled for late January, the Quins were forced to delay the show to Feb. 19 because of illness. Being the fan-centric show-women that  they are, the sisters apologized profusely and pointed out the fact that they'd cancelled nary a date over their 15-year career before last month. To the three stories' worth of T&S fans crammed into the Beacon, all was forgiven the moment the sisters took the stage with their four-man backing band.

The Quins played all 10 songs from their 2013 LP "Heartthrob," placing a great slab of confidence in their lovey-dovey seventh studio album. Partially produced and written by Greg Kurstin, the man behind hits like Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," the album fully realizes the pop confections that the twins have been toying with their whole careers.

In transitioning their newfound confidence to the stage, Tegan and Sara eased the Beacon crowd in, opening with familiar, acoustic-driven numbers like "Back In Your Head" and "The Con" -- tracks that 20-something T&S fans have likely been humming along to since high school. But a large portion of the crowd seemed high school-aged themselves, a welcome sight for an ever-evolving act. When the sisters first injected their set with their new, Kurstin-clad bangers, the response was positive, albeit a bit tentative. The sisters got the orchestra-seated Beacon audience on its feet from the opening strums of "Back In Your Head," but try as they might, the new cuts couldn't quite provoke full-fledged dancing until the starry-eyed electro-pop of "Closer." "Heartthrob's" lead single was an appropriate end to the Quin's proper set, though they re-emerged for a three-song encore of older cuts.

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Enthusiastic and appreciative, the sisters can still connect with a crowd -- and a big one at that -- in a meaningful way. Handling a theater-sized audience like a coffee shop crowd will come in handy as they embark on their 40-date North American tour (with a second Beacon Theatre gig on Wednesday night). In casual, post-song conversation, Sara nearly gave away the location of her New York City apartment, which the crowd learned is quite close to the Upper West Side's Beacon Theater. They may be budding pop stars, but Tegan and Sara are as relatable as ever.

Set list:
1. Back In Your Head
2. The Con
3. Goodbye, Goodbye
4. I Was a Fool
5. I'm Not Your Hero
6. Arrow
7. Walking With a Ghost
8. Soil, Soil
9. Burn Your Life Down
10. Where Does the Good Go?
11. Shock to Your System
12. How Come You Don't Want Me
13. Love They Say
14. Not Tonight/I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)
15. Nineteen
16. Living Room
17. Alligator
18. Drove Me Wild
19. I Couldn't Be Your Friend
20. Now I'm All Messed Up
21. Closer
22. Dark Come Soon
23. Call It Off
24. Feel it in My Bones