Tegan & Sara with the Ditty Bops
March 12, 2005
Perhaps it’s because I’m not gay. Or, maybe it’s because I’m a man. Whatever the reason is, I don’t understand why, or, more appropriately, how it is that so many people can adore Tegan and Sara.
I was sitting around at the SLUG office one day and the boss asked who I thought should review the upcoming Tegan and Sara show.
“I dunno. Who the hell are Tegan and Sara?”
“They’re these two attractive lesbian twin sisters from Canada who sing.”
“I’ll do it,” I said, trying not to sound like the typical American male who fantasizes about lesbians, twins and twin lesbians.
As I sat outside LoFi Cafe before the show enjoying a cigarette, I couldn’t help but observe the diverse group of people filing in. A frustrating number of beautiful women walked in holding the hands of their goony-looking boyfriends (I’ll never understand why the fat emo kids gets more than I do). Quite a few groups of overtly masculine-looking females strolled in like Napoleon returning from Elba—short and proud. I counted four meathead, jock-type guys with baseball caps and polo shirts; the kind of guys who were obviously there to fulfill their lesbian sister’s fantasies. I accepted the fact that I’d either be mackin’ on someone else’s girl, or barking up the wrong tree (so to speak) if I tried to find a date, and went inside.
I stood around for a few minuets compulsively picking the lint off of my shirt (damn black lights!), while The Ditty Bops were setting up. The Ditty Bops are a pair of cute L.A. women who play folksy bluegrass staight out of the 1930s. Think Django Reinhart meets an older, more mature Phoebe Cates (X2). The Bops were energetic and the crowd seemed to be into them, but I can only hear so many cute, poppy folk songs before I fall asleep. Actually, I went outside to smoke, where I was harassed by an overzealous teenage girl, who, when I told her that I wrote for SLUG, replied, “OOOO! I looove SLUG!” She asked me why I was writing in a small notebook, and I told her that I have no short-term memory, and that I needed to remember what, or in her case, who to make fun of. She suggested that I “lay off the drugs,” and I couldn’t help but think that inebriation would probably be the only thing that could make the night tolerable. I went back in to hear the Ditty Bops’s last song, clapped, then went back outside to continue the chemical assault on my lungs. The annoying girl’s friend asked me how to get a job with SLUG and I suggested that he invest in a good pair of kneepads. He didn’t get it.
Not knowing what to expect can be an exciting feeling. Such curious anticipation yields two results:
A. You’re pleasantly surprised. You feel fortunate to have witnessed such beauty.
B. You’re let down. You feel like vomiting frozen fish sticks.
Unfortunately, option B best describes how I felt after the first verse of the first song Tegan and Sara played.
Not my kind of music. What I heard that night was some of the worst pop music I’ve heard since T.A.T.U. When the sisters harmonize, they sound like a hybrid vocal mix of Cindy Lauper and James Iha on a helium binge.
To give T&S credit, they did sound tight and well-rehearsed. They are very good at what they do; I just don’t like what they do. Their fans have a boy-bandish dedication that was frightening to watch. When T&S played “I Know I Know I Know,” the single from their latest release, the crowd began singing (screaming) along, word for word. I even saw some people doing the pogo. It reminded me of the Rancid concert I went to in 8th grade, except there were no mohawks or Winstons present.
Indeed, girls just want to have fun. And so do I. Unfortunately, that night it appeared that I was the only person not partaking in the joyous circus that is Tegan and Sara.
Tegan & Sara with the Ditty Bops