Basel 2013: Tegan & Sara (and Big Fans Puking in the Sand) at VH1 and Scope Party

Photo by Ian Witlen

Tegan & Sara
VH1 and Scope's Art + Music + Beach Party
SCOPE Pavilion, Miami Beach
Friday, December 6, 2013

At 8 p.m., the massive oceanfront tent that houses one of the largest auxiliary fairs during Art Basel Miami Beach week, Scope, closed its doors for the night. Nearby, a long line formed to enter a fenced-off bit of sand. The beautiful people and their benefactors jockeyed for position to get inside the invitation-only VH1- and Scope-hosted event.

Once inside, they were greeted with a candy apple station. There was one table where you could buy tacos, another with sushi, sweepstakes to win a Fiat -- that would also get you on the car company's mailing list -- and a cash bar. The only aspects of the party that did not involve commerce were the luxurious bathrooms set up in trailers and the main attraction, Tegan & Sara.

See also: Black Lips' Basel 2013 Pool Party: Naked Women, Vomit, and Fog Machines

Photo by Ian Witlen

The Canadian twin sisters have been around in one form or another since the '90s. Their heavenly voices always unafraid to veer off in oddball directions. That is, until their latest album, Heartthrob, veered away from indie and into a much more commercial direction.

Toning down their endearing weirdness worked financially, since Heartthrob made it to number three on the charts. But to see such conformity is heartbreaking; no musician has approached such a shift since Liz Phair tried to go teenybopper.

Photo by Ian Witlen

At 10 p.m., Jim Shearer, the host of VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, introduced Tegan & Sara by saying he never thought that he'd hear them on pop radio. He did not specify whether he thought this accomplishment was a positive or a negative.

Minutes later, the sisters walked on stage, wearing matching leather jackets and black pants, and backed by a four-piece band that was just as bland as their new album.

Photo by Ian Witlen

Fortunately, though, Tegan & Sara still possess their secret weapon: twin voices that work together to create untraditional harmonies.

They also came armed with humility and humor, charming every member of the audience who was actually paying attention and not checking the iPhone for the next Basel party to attend.

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Wow, Can't a artist that has been around a decade just change? this is not the 90s, and they are not 19 anymore.  I love the new and old stuff equally.


Wow, I wasn't aware I was going to be reading an album review. You could understand my confusion considering the headline.

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