9/29/14 – The Sinclair

I first discovered Tennis on a Songza playlist called something like “Indie Apartment Party,” which was exactly the setting in which I could picture them playing. In fact, the band’s show at the Sinclair felt like just that—a Williamsburg soiree, complete with an audience of youngsters in thick-framed glasses and dyed hair.

The band’s sound, indie-pop by Internet terminology, is clean and romantic, reminiscent of the Danish duo Quadron. Both have sultry vocals, jazzy undertones, and soft percussion. Their sound—although it can also be serious like on the song “Bad Girls“—fits right in with the soundtrack of (500) Days of Summer. Their songs are jolly, not in a radio-pop way, but in a way that makes you want to silly dance with your siblings or road-trip down the coast with a caravan of friends.

Consisting of husband Patrick Riley and wife Alaina Moore, Tennis had an effortless image on stage. Moore was a perfect wax doll, wearing her sunshine blonde hair in perfect ringlets and a lacy floor-length dress that emphasized the fragility of her figure. Riley, on the other hand, was like a musically inclined version of Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

At times, Moore picked up a guitar or strolled over to the keyboard to add something extra to her vocals. The best songs of the set were those when Moore took to the keys, like in “Mean Streets,” off their EP Small Sound. The addition of keyboard elevated Tennis’ indie pop to a dash of 80s funk, getting the audience swaying with the melodies.

Sometimes when I go to a show, I’ll feel the need to put on my best RBF and edgiest clothes to fit in to the too-cool scene. Maybe that’s just me, but I didn’t feel that way with Tennis. They played a relaxed show, joking around and smiling.

In between songs, Moore asked what day of the week it was. Monday? Tuesday? The yellow light illuminated her hair like sun through a pitcher of lemonade. She described how the tour made the band feel caught in a “pigtail” of weekend nights. Sounds good to me.

The Coolest Married Couple You Know: Tennis
Pros
  • Clean, jazzy sound
  • Lovely vocals
Cons
  • Little imagery in lyrics
  • At times repetitive
9Bottle of Pinot

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