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The Con X: How Tegan and Sara Use Their Past to Help the Future

It’s a well known fact that the Canadian twin sisters, Tegan and Sara Quin, have always gone against the grain. It’s almost like as if whatever social norms say is the right direction to go in, Tegan and Sara go the complete opposite way. It’s been ten years since The Con, their fifth studio album released back in 2007, and the two sisters have come a long way since the release of this more ‘angst’ and ‘dark’ album (as characterized in Sara’s words at their concert in Seattle on October 27th). Ten years later, the two sisters are doing a cross-country acoustic tour of this beloved album, The Con X tour, to celebrate the unique path they’ve paved in the music world.

I had heard for a while that Tegan and Sara were coming to Seattle, as well as doing an acoustic tour of The Con. An album largely made up of short acoustic songs, driven largely by painful and angst-filled emotions spanning topics such as heartbreak, moving on, love, and everything in between, it’s a long ways away from the more pop and upbeat recent Tegan and Sara albums, such as Heartthrob (2013) and Love You to Death (2016). The night before the concert, I found $20 tickets on Stubhub (they were nosebleeds), and I had no one to go with, but when else am I ever going to listen to Tegan and Sara perform only songs off of The Con.

Prior to this, I thought this concert would largely be defined through feelings of nostalgia, since of course, this was a 10th anniversary concert to celebrate an old album that both Tegan and Sara defined as a turning point in their careers. What actually happened was a complete 180 from my initial thought. Prior to the start of 2017, Tegan and Sara created the Tegan and Sara Foundation, an LGBTQ foundation dedicated towards fighting for girls and women. I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard about this foundation until a few weeks before writing this, when I came across an Instagram post about how a dollar of all tickets purchased for The Con X tour would be donated to the foundation.

Since the concert itself had no opening act and Tegan and Sara were performing songs off of The Con (an album that itself is not forty minutes long), that left a large window for them to share anecdotes of their time and past times in Seattle, interact with the crowd, but most importantly shed more light on the importance of their foundation. The way that the twin sisters defined it as is, a way to give back to the LGBTQ community, who have both greatly supported both Tegan and Sara, who are both openly gay. Throughout the many speeches about their foundation, the one theme that the two sisters pressed on was acknowledgment of their privilege and pedestal. They acknowledged the fact that their visibility in the limelight allowed them to be able to shed light on certain issues such as economic justice, health, and representation of LGBTQ women.

In a world today where the main focus is looking forward and fighting for progress, the Tegan and Sara Foundation is exactly what we need. The Con X tour was meant to celebrate ten amazing years of musical progress for the twin sisters, but it represents so much more than just musical progress; it represents hope for social and political progress, as well. 

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Written by Irine Le

Irine is a Bay Area native who loves Sufjan Stevens, cheering on Notre Dame whenever she sees it (thanks to President Jed Bartlet), and bus rides at sunset in the city.

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