Diana Ross and the Supremes were singing how “love don’t come easy” as Tegan and Sara Quin walked onto the stage at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater Friday night, the second in a four-night run of shows. And those are definitely words the Canadian twins take to heart; they specialize in songs of romantic anger and regret. “Do I need a new heartbreak to write a new broken song,” Tegan sings in the opening song, “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” while in their best-known song, “Walking With a Ghost,” Sara seeks to wipe a former lover out of her mind.
But live, they were not the least bit sullen or aloof. If anything, their 90-minute perf (including encore) worked to obliterate the line between performer and fan; there’s not the slightest whiff of rock-star entitlement. Both Tegan and Sara maintained a steady commentary with the aud: pointing out each other’s miscues or the faces they make while performing, accepting notes and gifts of rings or sneakers, leading sing-alongs, even deftly deflecting one persistent fan’s request for an early song, “Our Trees,” by pointing out it’s not an especially good song (“I wrote it, so I can say it,” Tegan explained to the fans who begged to differ). Even the stage set — a couple of LED columns and Chinese lanterns lit up at seemingly random times — had a kind of offhand charm. And guests Matt Sharp, who duetted with Sara on Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” and Hunter Burgin, who joined them on “Back in Your Head,” were treated less like stars than members of the family.
The largely female aud plainly adored it — but the songs seal the deal. Tegan and Sara may sing of messy emotions, but the songs don’t linger over them. They are compact packages of pop pleasures; Tegan leans on punky riffs and fist-pumping choruses, Sara’s more abstract and folkier, both filled with chirping harmonies and lean instrumental fillips, although their three-piece backing band tends to stay out of the way. Like Tegan and Sara themselves, the band is direct and very likeable.