Basel 2013: Tegan & Sara (and Big Fans Puking in the Sand) at VH1 and Scope Party

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Photo by Ian Witlen

The Canadian twin sisters have been around in one form or another since the '90s. Their heavenly voices always unafraid to veer off in oddball directions. That is, until their latest album, Heartthrob, veered away from indie and into a much more commercial direction.

Toning down their endearing weirdness worked financially, since Heartthrob made it to number three on the charts. But to see such conformity is heartbreaking; no musician has approached such a shift since Liz Phair tried to go teenybopper.

Photo by Ian Witlen

At 10 p.m., Jim Shearer, the host of VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, introduced Tegan & Sara by saying he never thought that he'd hear them on pop radio. He did not specify whether he thought this accomplishment was a positive or a negative.

Minutes later, the sisters walked on stage, wearing matching leather jackets and black pants, and backed by a four-piece band that was just as bland as their new album.

Photo by Ian Witlen

Fortunately, though, Tegan & Sara still possess their secret weapon: twin voices that work together to create untraditional harmonies.

They also came armed with humility and humor, charming every member of the audience who was actually paying attention and not checking the iPhone for the next Basel party to attend.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland