Tennis, one of the finest pop bands of the last decade, rolled through Atlanta to a sold out crowd at Terminal West last Monday, January 29th.
Denver-based husband and wife duo, Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley first met while in college in Colorado. Upon graduation, the two bought a sailboat and spent seven months sailing along the Eastern Seaboard. After that trip, the two returned home and started recording, releasing the first Tennis single, “South Carolina”, in 2010. Since that time, the couple’s love and mutual respect for each other has turned into 4 full length Tennis albums, including 2017’s Yours Conditionally.
While Yours Conditionally was released last March, Tennis did release a new 5 song EP, We Can Die Happy, in November that they’ve added to their live repertoire. Tennis’ music has always had a breezy, yet groovy vibe, but the lead single from the new EP, “No Exit” was a crowd pleaser that had the sold out crowd moving those hips. It’s one of those irresistible songs that the mixed crowd can all agree on.
Tennis’ set at Terminal West was full of fan favorites spanning across their career. The crowd was full of people from literally all walks of life; whether young or old, the crowd was fully engaged as Tennis played all the hits. From “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar”, to “Origins”, to “Fields of Blue” and so many more, whether you knew the songs or not, the familiarity of each track the band played shined through.
Alaina, who had been sick for a few weeks prior, even having to cancel a few shows, declared in the middle of the set, “Sorry if I”m looking hyper sexy tonight, it’s a side effect from the steroids from the flu”, giving the crowd a good laugh and perhaps a warning for any stage fatigue. But with a crowd this good, her loving husband on her side, and surrounded by a talented band, the show would go on and there would be no sign of the sickness slowing down Tennis. If anything, Alaina was full of spunk. While standing behind her keyboard late in the set, she said she has never seen a live review mention that she even plays an actual instrument, “when in actuality I’m shredding up here”, before jumping into one of her more difficult parts. Of course it was all in good humor, stage banter for the crowd to chuckle over with her. But there is a lot of truth in that statement. Despite being an obviously key part of the duo that is Tennis – yes she is gorgeous inside and out, yes her sultry, candy pop vocals can melt you right away, with deep and often dark lyrics, yet Alaina probably has never fully gained the respect she deserves as a pure and talented musician that she is.
Heck, as beloved as Tennis is, they still really haven’t quite received their due for how great of a band they are. But that’s alright though, go to any of the band’s sold out shows, and you will find plenty of adoring fans. For me, I watched as the rest of the band left the stage for the final song, leaving only Alaina and Patrick onstage for a stunning and spiritual rendition of “Bad Girls” off of their 2015 album Ritual In Repeat, and that’s all I needed to know about Tennis. Amazing. Truly.
Opening the show were Tennis’ touring buds, Overcoats out of New York. Overcoats, who released their debut album Young in April of 2017 via Arts & Crafts, turned out to be an impressive and formidable duo in their own right. Overcoats is college friends Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, and they were joined on drums by Joao Gonzalez from Soft Glas. Hana and JJ aren’t sisters, but they immediately brought to mind and stood up to the folksy harmonies of sister duo First Aid Kit. While First Aid Kit is more steeped in traditional folk, Overcoats take the folk, the harmonies, add some jazz and upbeat electronics, for a more modern pop sound that still feels fresh. The duo have an undeniable connection on stage, playfully smiling and enjoying the stage. They even choreographed simultaneous dance moves throughout. At one moment, Overcoats would have the crowd dancing, the next the audience would be in awe at the perfectly in-sync vocals that soared throughout Terminal West.
Relive Tennis and Overcoats night at Terminal West through Mike Gerry‘s photo’s:
Tennis just announced a new tour with The Decemberists including a return trip to Atlanta on April 15th at the Coca Cola Roxy: