What could possibly even happen when Urbanscapes slowly reveals the line-up for what has been proclaimed as Malaysia’s longest-running creative arts festival? It’s almost synonymous with Dita von Teese doing one of her classic burlesque acts – such a tease. I’ll be frank; I did not bother much about Urbanscapes until August 25th, which if I recall correctly happened to be a slow-paced Sunday, when they announced the last line-up for the festival, Tegan and Sara. I immediately lost it there and then. “ARE THEY SERIOUSLY COMING TO MALAYSIA?! OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I AM GONNA CRY AND THEN DIE AND THEN CRY AGAIN OH GOD IF THAT EVEN MADE ANY SENSE AT ALL”. As much as it was needed to remain my own composure, it took a few days instead for the excitement to sink in slowly. The Canadian wonder twins named Tegan Rain Quin, and Sara Kiersten Quin who have been making music and travelling around the globe for approximately 15 years now, pondered upon the fact as to why have they not visited Malaysia all these years. They made a remark which brought so much joy to their fans, to which they would definitely come back to Malaysia again next year. It was also earlier this year when the sisters successfully produced their seventh full-length studio album titled Heartthrob, and comparatively in this case Heartthrob has managed to take into the charts by storm, and Malaysia, too.
Crystal and I – We avidly cover TNS songs, and custom design TNS t-shirts.
If you did not already know, the festival Urbanscapes provides a wide range of the non-music acts and creative activities including conceptual contemporary art installations created by invited regional and international artists, urban standup comedy shows by the Comedy Club KL, improvisation theatresports by Actorlympics and perfumery workshop by Experience Market. Urbanscapes was held at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), a relatively improved and larger venue than that of 2012’s. Other major headlines were Franz Ferdinand, Explosions In The Sky and Metric (for separate satellite shows), and Efterklang. Two Door Cinema Club had however, unexpectedly cancelled their show, as Alex had a case of acute form laryngitis, and that alone caused quite an inevitable disappointment in their devoted fans.
The show must still go on though!
In Each Hand A Cutlass (IEHAC) rocking the stage since 5:45pm
For my case, I was only interested in the first day of the festival itself as of course my favourite twins were going to perform on that day. Having arrived there at around 2pm, the weather was scorching hot, and the rule of not allowing anyone to carry umbrellas into the venue clearly did not make things any better. Perhaps it was a bad idea to be dressed fully black that day. After a few hours of happy trails around the venue scouting around for food and mostly water, my friends and I caught In Each Hand A Cutlass, a Singaporean post-rock band, live. Aside from the bassist looking uncannily like Johnny Depp, the music that they play is pretty decent. Shortly after that, we were fighting our own nerves as the clock ticks even closer to 7 30pm, our scheduled meet and greet session with Tegan and Sara themselves. Indirectly quoting On Directing, a track off their album Sainthood, I lost my grip I lost my focus. It was simply inconceivable at that moment when I captured a glimpse of the twins outside of the room. From here onwards it would probably be my own fangirling but those twins looked so insert-random-words-here-which-describe-how-one-would-feel-upon-seeing-their-celebrity-crushes. Sometimes I cannot even believe that they’re 33. What age has to offer is at times quite fascinating don’t you think?
Tegan working those Doc Martens, and them badass tattoos!
As the years go by, Sara wears her guitar higher and higher. Also, how can anyone not be attracted to that piercingly sharp jawline?
The crowd went ballistic as soon as Tegan and Sara came on stage, including myself in the second row. First song in their setlist was Drove Me Wild, how apt, I thought. The setlist was balanced in every single way possible, as they performed various blasts from the past such as the classic Call It Off, Back In Your Head, Living Room, and Where Did The Good Go. What did it for me for the entire performance of Now I’m All Messed Up. It began with a soft orchestration of crisp piano riffs, and with that everyone in the audience knew it was time to relate to ever have messed up badly in relationships for as long as we could remember. My friends and I immediately tuned into our emotional and vulnerable side and sang especially with much devotion for the song, with tears welling up as we scream “Go, go, go if you want, I can’t stop you” repeatedly. This song particularly brings back echoes of the often painful memories, and also the sudden pang of realization that Tegan and Sara would eventually have to leave us after a 75-minutes performance. We gave our all, and when the song was finally over, my friends and I looked at each other, in silence, with tears in our eyes, thinking to ourselves, “Damn, that was bloody intense!”
From How Come You Don’t Want Me Now to Feel It In My Bones, the crowd was surely constantly fuelled with adrenaline, especially when it is a collective collaboration with DJ Tiesto in spite of their vast catalogue of indie, pop, folk, rock and even some electronica. The twins ended their show with the last song, Closer, the first single off Heartthrob. Closer is indeed a song about getting closer, both emotionally and physically. It is a celebration of the typical one-on-one intimacy that extends to the way this duo is reaching out to what it hopes will be a larger audience. Tegan and Sara evidently are united in expressing the joys and the agony – the often luxurious, languid agony – that anyone who has been in love can identify with. Sang along to “All I wanna get is a little bit closer” and “I want you close I want you, I won’t treat you like you’re typical” was all we did.
And yes, I finally did get a little bit closer to Tegan and Sara.
Photo credits: Urbanscapes