Unapologetically queer indie faves Tegan & Sara and Years & Years performed the hits, deep cuts and even a Britney Spears cover for a clothing-averse NYC crowd.
The day started off with R&B vocal wonder Gallant performing, followed by Irish electropop chanteuse Roisin Murphy, whose costume/mask/feather boa stage aesthetic is more drag than 90 percent of actual drag queens.
After Murphy, British House/R&B-indebted electropop trio Years & Years – fronted by out-and-proud singer Olly Alexander – delivered the most exuberant set despite a few technical glitches. Flaunting a bright pink outfit (with a shirt urging people to "Fall in love and be more tender") and draped in a Pride flag, an all-smiles Alexander twirled, danced and told the crowd how much fun it was to play Pride and "be my femme alien witch self."
Aside from the massive sing-along response to the band's irresistible "King," the crowd flipped out when Years and Years turned out their slow-burning cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic." Despite a couple odd glitches – a snippet of pre-recorded music loudly cut in during a quiet piano number, causing Alexander to quip "I'm so sorry, I feel like Mariah did on New Year's Eve" – the band sounded incredible, and Alexander's final assurance that "usually we sound much better" before he left the stage wasn't necessary. Even with the errors, it was still a jubilant, life-affirming set.
As night fell and One World Trade Center lit up with Pride colors, Tegan and Sara took the stage, correctly observing, "Pretty sure we're wearing the most clothes here." The twin sister duo primarily performed the dance-pop-oriented songs from their last two albums but busted out the guitar to deliver some older cuts as well (a fan who didn't seem to be aware of their first decade of incredulously asked "Is this a riot grrrl show?!" when the guitar made its first appearance).
Tegan and Sara closed out the night with some intel on which member of the duo was the "gayest."
"Tegan is gayer than I am," Sara informed the crowd. "She is the gayest member of Tegan and Sara, and this is our gayest song so Tegan should sing it." With that they kicked into the pounding synth anthem "Closer," a stone-cold pop masterpiece that had the audience dancing and shouting every lyric.
Sunday night's Pride Island concert is headlined by Nelly Furtado; Patti LaBelle performed at Pride Island's Friday (June 23) night show.