Tegan and Sara

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For the second time in two years fun. has graced Pittsburgh’s Stage AE with their presence.  The first time around, back in 2011, fun. performed a sold-out indoors show.  Although fun. has not released any new material recently, they have gained much recognition and grown significantly in popularity.  In the last two years, fun. have toured all across the US, performed at major festivals, and most importantly won two GRAMMY awards – for both Best New Artist (for Some Nights) and Song of the Year (We Are Young).

fun. brought the synth-pop rock duo Tegan and Sara along with them this time.  For those who are unaware, Tegan and Sara have been around the block.  The Canadian sisters have been making music since 1995.  That being said, the duo brought the skill and overall musical tightness that you would expect from a tenured band.  The duo fed off the energy from the sold-out Stage AE crowd.  From what I saw, most of the crowd was familiar with Tegan and Sara’s material.  The crowd sang along loud and proud during the duo’s set.  Tegan and Sara also both exclaimed their excitement and gratitude to be opening for fun..  Tegan and Sara’s set included a lot of their well-known songs including “Living Room,” “Closer,” and “Drive Me Wild.”

After a high-energy performance by Tegan and Sara, fun. took the stage.  The upbeat indie rockers came out on stage with a bang, opening with “Some Nights (Intro)” and going straight into “One Foot.”  fun. brought their full bag of tricks with them.  Lead singer, Nate Ruess had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the second he took the stage til the final encore.  The entire crowd was singing along with every lyric.  Fun. played a set that was almost an even split between their debut album Aim and Ignite and their critically acclaimed Some Nights.  fun. did not limit themselves to just their album material though.  After Ruess commented on the gradual transformation and expansion of the band’s fan base, they broke into an impromptu cover of Carlos Santana’s “Smooth.”   Ruess also acknowledged that Jimmy Buffet was in town performing and the band went into a cover of their own and no, it was not Margaritaville, it was Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”  After performing their mega hit “We Are Young,” fun. left the stage for the first time.  After only letting a few minutes pass, fun. came out and performed “Some Nights” and closed out with “Stars.”  fun. more than lived up to the expectation anybody in the crowd could have had going into the concert, myself included.  In a night where the Pittsburgh Symphony was performing the music of Led Zeppelin and the icon Jimmy Buffet were also in town, those who were fortunate enough to attend the sold-out fun. show were treated an outstanding concert and treated to quite a fun time.  Sorry.  I had to...

-- Drew Frichtel

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Tegan and Sara are on the short list of ten artists in the running for the the prestigious Candanain Polaris Music Prize for their album Heartthrob.  Tegan and Sara are no stranger to this list, their 2009 release, Sainthood was up for the Polaris Music Prize in 2010.

The finalists were announced early this morning by singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards and rapper Shad in Toronto who will both host the awards on September 23.   The Polaris Music Prize is annually given to the best full-length Canadian album.  Unlike most awards, which are based on album sales, the Polaris Music Prize is chosen based on artist merit.

Tegan and Sara’s latest release Heartthrob is nominated for the Polaris Music Prize.  Other artists in consideration for this year are Purity Ring, Whitehorse, Metric, and A Tribe Called Red.  Executive director of Polaris commented the award selection process, "It's an interesting breakdown every year. It goes all over the map, but more importantly people really listen to each other in the internal discussions, even the ones who don't weigh in and aren't vocal. People still hear the arguments; they still hear someone's passion for a record that they may not themselves understand. It's an unseen benefit of Polaris is the openness we're instilling in the music media in Canada. People are really seriously considering their ballot every time they vote.”

The winner will be selected by an 11-member jury while the nominees peform and receive individual acknowledgement awards.  The winner is announced at the conclusion of the evening and receives $30,000. Runners up receive $,2000 each.

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