Tennis @ Underground Arts

WRITTEN BY: KATE FULTON

On Saturday March 18, Tennis played their first ever sold out show in Philadelphia at Underground Arts. The band immediately returned to touring after the March 10 album release of Yours Conditionally, their fourth studio album.

The album transports listeners back to the late 70s with a combination of funky pop beats and soulful vocals. Although it introduces a slower and more somber attitude that fans have not seen before, it holds true to the Tennis brand of female centered indie rock.

The night started out with the single opener, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, a 5-piece indie rock act from Melbourne, Australia. The band had just came from taking their turn at SXSW, and was excited to be place their “first proper show in America.” With a mix of acoustic and electric sounds, the band was able to get the crowd head bobbing and swaying from the start of their set. The band played a good deal of music from their first studio album The French Press coincidentally released the same day as Tennis’ new album, and filled in the set with songs off their first EP Tight Talk.

Photo: Kate Fulton

Despite the band’s underground nature, the crowd was excited to see them as groups of fans called out to the members on stage. The energy of the crowd was reciprocated on stage as the band jammed out. There was never a dull moment as the energy of the band and the crowd lifted higher and higher with every song.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever closed their set with the title track of their new album, which the crowd had been shouting request for since the middle of the set. Starting out with high energy, the band pushed their limits as they crescendoed all the way through their last instrumental until they had nothing left to give.

The crowd was ready when Tennis’ husband-wife duo of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore took the stage. The band immediately went into their first song, grabbing the crowd with  Moore’s angelic vocals. Shortly after the set began, Moore admitted that she could feel the energy in the venue from offstage and that “it was going to be a good night whether we want it to be or not.” Tennis’ excitement was mirrored by the crowd throughout show.

Photo: Kate Fulton

The band brought their retro sound to the stage as the soulful sounds filled the basement of Underground Arts. Moore exemplified the 70s vibe with her blonde afro, boot cut striped pants, and black clogs. As she sang, anyone could see the passion she had for her craft as put all her strength into each song she sang.  

As the set went on, the audience sang along to even the band’s newest songs, which put a huge grin on Moore’s face as she sang. The crowd matched the shifting energy of every song, dancing to the high energy songs and swaying to the more somber hymns.

The second the band the stage after their main set, the crowd went wild requesting an encore. After a few moment the band came back onstage to a delighted crowd ready for more.

The band ended the night was with encore of Riley and Moore unaccompanied by their touring bassist and drummer. Moore walked from behind the keyboard to the very front of the stage, saying, “these are my girls right here,” about the ladies standing in the front row, who had been the most enthusiastic members of the audience singing every word to every song.. The band finished with one of their bigger hits “Bad Girl.” Throughout the song Moore seemed to sing only to Riley, truly showing the love she has for him as he accompanied her on guitar. The call cheered as Moore walked to the front of the stage showing off her wedding ring to the crowd as she sang about her matrimony to Riley.

Tennis will tour in support of their new album until August, where they will close the tour in their hometown of Denver.

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