This year has been monumental for female pop artists. With releases from greats such as Britney Spears, Beyonce and more, 2016 has sealed itself as a year for new classics. However, two of the year’s best pop albums came from smaller names.
Back in June, Tegan and Sara released their eighth studio album, Love You to Death, 10 tracks of honest lyrics and catchy hooks that seal the duo as one of indie pop’s best.
In July, English singer-songwriter Shura, who had been catching critics’ ears with singles such as “What’s It Gonna Be?” (listen below) and “White Light,” dropped her anticipated debut record, Nothing’s Real, a solid pop album proving she could live up to the hype she’d gained.
In the wake of their new album's release, Tegan and Sara set out on the Love You to Death tour. To make it even more special, they invited Shura on the road with them. It’s a dream lineup for pop enthusiasts, as well as one that promotes girl power to its fullest.
It was no question the tour’s Portland stop would sell out, so as the doors opened, there was no surprise in seeing a mass of fans wrapping around the block of the Roseland Theater. The capacity crowd filed into the venue, and by the time Shura kicked off her set, the theater was packed.
Shura proved her music could hold up just as well live as it does on record. From the first note of her opening track, the chatter of the crowd turned into a dance party, colored brightly by the lights behind the band. Shura, along with her two-member backing band, kept the beat up through her set, showing a synth pop talent in her live performance that matched or even topped the bar set by her debut record.
It was only the opening set and already the energy, liveliness and shimmering color of the lighting gave every attendee the pop fix they set out to find. As Shura ended her last track, the crowd shoved in a little bit closer to see the stage setup for the night’s headliner.
With the crowd’s energy at an ample level, Tegan and Sara came on strong with their fan-favorite track “Back In Your Head.” Just as with any Tegan and Sara show, the stage banter was never-ending and perfectly on point. The personalities of the Quin sisters factor prominently into the fun of seeing them live: The two shared stories of their childhood, reminisced on their time recording their album The Con here in Portland, but most importantly, they showed just how much pop power they could bring.
Almost two hours later, Tegan and Sara had played through a large collection of songs spanning their impressive 20-year tenure. While often hitting on new songs like “Boyfriend” and “Stop Desire,” their set also contained older tracks such as “Living Room,” picked from their 2002 record.
One of the most impressive elements of the show was the stage setup and lighting, which featured an elevated second stage for the band, all lit up in sync with the music. It added a beautiful visual element to the show, as well as put the duo at a better height for those in the back of the crowd.
By the end of Tegan and Sara’s 25-song set, melodies were firmly planted in the minds of those in attendance. Shura and Tegan and Sara both set out to give their fans a night of dance, lights, music and memories, and they did just that and more.