This is Me Before I Come Undone











…like I haven’t felt it in a while. I don’t think I realized just how excited I was for Tegan and Sara to play not just one, but two shows at the 9:30 Club, a mere mile and a half from my house. Usually, for me, traveling to far and interesting places with new and old concert friends makes seeing shows near where I live feel downright anticlimactic. (Like, what kind of show is that when I don’t even have to go anywhere?? Haha…) But this time, I guess, Tegan and Sara weren’t playing at the huge Warner Theater or the huge and awkward Lisner Auditorium or the huge and even more awkward DAR Constitutional Hall or the ever-huger (ever-more-huge?) Patriot Center or Merriweather Pavilion (twice) or even the smaller Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore. No, this time they were playing at the 9:30 Club, a place that has become like home to me since I moved to DC seven years ago. I swear, I’ve seen almost every band I’ve ever followed there, and then some, including Metric, Hanson, Amanda Palmer, An Horse, Steel Train, Kaki King, Foals, Bloc Party, Cold War Kids, Citizen Cope, CSS, and the list goes on… I’ve even started a list of bands I’ve seen there before they blew up and got too big to play there, including Gotye, Mumford and Sons, Fun, Death Cab (though that was kind of a small-venue tour for them). I’ve even seen friends play there, including The Pushovers, who got me a press/backstage pass so that for once I could be on the other side of the barricades and see what the artists get to see. But I walk into that place and it feels like home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a show there and biked (or even walked) through the quiet streets on a post-show buzz back to my house. I’ve had my camera confiscated by their security so many times that it almost feels like a fond pasttime. (Almost.)

But I thought that I had lost the chance to see my favorite band of all time ever play there. I knew that they had played the 9:30 Club before I moved to DC in 2007 (as well as DC’s smaller well-known venue, Black Cat), and when they came to town right after I moved here and played at George Washington University’s Listner Auditorium, I figured that I would never get to see Tegan and Sara play in that awesome, intimate venue I loved. When they came back in 2010 and played Warner Theater, I lost a little more hope. And when they started revealing their ambitious plans for Heartthrob, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d missed that era here and would never see it again. I could travel the whole world over to see them play, and yet never see them in the one place that felt like “home.”

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But I was wrong. When they released these past tour dates, I couldn’t believe it. And when DC was one of the only cities with two dates AND one of the only cities to sell out the shows, I was so proud of this place I love! Walking into the Canadian embassy, which is only two blocks from my office, I felt so excited to have them playing somewhere so familiar… and walking into the 9:30 Club that first night for the soundcheck, I felt positively giddy (which maybe you can tell from watching the soundcheck video, since I usually try never to talk while I’m filming and almost never talk TO them while they’re performing, but this time I just couldn’t help myself… *embarrassed*) It felt amazing. It felt like they might as well have been playing in the living room of my house. It felt like all of the pride I have for living in this awesome city and all of the excitement I always have for seeing them live kind of collided into this feeling of like wanting to drag them around like a little kid drags their parents to see their paintings hung up in the classroom in kindergarten, like, “Look! Look! This is MY place! And this is MY desk!! And these are MY things!!!” (I mean obviously I didn’t, but that’s the only way I can think to describe that feeling, haha.)

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And then the shows were fantastic! Seeing them play at the Canadian Embassy, which I walk by almost every day but have never been inside of, was so cool (and being lucky enough to have a friend take me along after he won tickets was even better). Having them sing two songs to us while sitting on stools in the balcony of the 9:30 Club with just Ted playing an acoustic guitar to back them up because their bus had broken down and their equipment wasn’t set up yet, was maybe the most awesome, most intimate “performance” I’d ever been part of (even if it was an accident!) I got to introduce them to MY sister (who makes them look like elves) and to take a silly photo like the one on their tour merch and to see them try to crouch down in the front of a picture with Canadian military guys (why?? Did they think those guys couldn’t see over them?!) I was beyond excited, all over again, to be lucky enough to be front and dead center for my first time seeing them in this place. And they didn’t let me down, not at all. All of the shows on this tour have been exciting and energetic in a way that I feel they haven’t quite been in a while. Maybe it’s because it’s their first real headlining tour since they started touring for Heartthrob. Maybe it’s because Tegan and her super-confident awkwardness with the wireless microphone (and Sara’s apparent apprehension of her wireless microphone, lol) can’t fail to make anyone smile, even the friend I took last night who didn’t know any of their stuff. But it was great. Sara was on top of her inappropriate banter in a way that has been rare in the past few years. Even Tegan participated in the inappropriate banter, which is even more rare, haha. Tegan danced around like an idiot and totally knew it, which made it even better. I had the angle for their cover of Let My Love Open the Door that I’ve been dreaming of since the first time I saw them perform it. Tegan brought a terrified young fan onstage to play the tambourine for Sentimental Tune. Sara stuck up for Tegan while the audience was talking, and then Tegan let the crowd (badly!) sing Nineteen for her. The Courtneys were great. Lucius kicked ass like usual, and I got to record them from the best angle ever. I met a bunch of new people and came across some old friends and had a great time seeing everyone. And to top it off, I got there early enough to get one of the BEST CUPCAKES ON THE PLANET. Both nights.

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And so now, two days that I didn’t even realize I was looking forward to quite so much are over, and I’m almost disappointed to have a holiday weekend stretched out in front of me with nothing to do. Someone suggested trying to make it to some of the shows coming up in the next week, but that’s not even it. I feel like I felt when I was in elementary school and planning my birthday sleepover for months and now it’s over and everyone’s gone home and I don’t know what to do with myself and my house is quiet and empty and Tegan and Sara aren’t hanging out in my living room anymore. I’m sure I’ll be fine after I’ve caught up on some sleep here and start to look forward to the next shows I have coming up… but for now I’m going to hope that I was able to take some good videos for you guys so that you can see what I saw and feel what I felt. It was a really special week.

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et cetera