On Saturday night Tennis played to a sold out record bar crowd. I must admit that I was shocked to see all the people in the small venue. My expectations for a mellow night with the indie favorite were quickly diminished and I realized that Tennis wasn’t the secret I had anticipated them to be. The husband and wife duo from Denver had caught me by surprise earlier this year and were even more impressive Saturday night.
While the music remained mellow the crowd was filled with anticipation and screaming to gain any recognition from Moore. It was refreshing to see this kind of love for a band that doesn’t get radio play locally. It just proves that the way people find out about music is evolving and creating an atmosphere that a band like Tennis can thrive in.
Kansas City has an ever-growing and supportive music scene that deserves a bit more recognition than it gets. Hopefully the word of sold out shows will spread to other bands in the same vein, this city certainly has the crowd to support these word of mouth acts. Leaving one to question why the city is so regularly skipped over. I can say this for sure, Tennis won’t make that mistake again.
If you are unfamiliar with the band, you may be missing out on the sound track to your summer. With two releases under their belt, Cape Dory and Young & Old, it is hard to ignore Tennis’ Surf Rock sensibilities. Like Best Coast, the band tends to focus on the brighter side of the year, creating a live performance that requires a refreshing beverage as an accompaniment. This isn’t surprising as the duo created their fist album while sailing the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. For most bands that information may come with the red flag of trust fund rock. When you see the band live any fears of incessant snobbery have quickly washed away. You can tell that Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley genuinely love what they do and eagerly want to share that feeling live.
Songs like “Petition” have a much fuller and soulful sound live, giving a more modern feel to the throwback homage. The vibrant sound of Moore’s voice is something deserving of recognition and a big part of what sets the band apart from others trying to duplicate the sound. There are only a handful of groups that can pull off the vintage vibe, most try and fail, Tennis finds a way to make it all their own. The only minor complaint I do have is that the band doesn’t do much to add to their live show. The music is all you get, anything beyond that is a bonus. But don’t expect much time between songs, the band rips through a set quickly. Closed eyes and a swaying moment seems to be the best way to enjoy the music.
If you get a chance to catch Tennis on this tour I highly suggest you do. Smaller venues seem to add to the majestic sound that Tennis can produce. I have seen the band twice now I can say with confidence that they deliver every time, no matter the steaks. If you enjoy the band’s albums Cape Dory and Young & Old, then you are only cheating yourself by not seeing the duo live.
By Bethany Smith
photos by Angela Davis