It’s a cute story how Tennis came to be… Singer Alaina Moore and guitarist Patrick Riley met in college, wed, sold all of their belongings and sailed along the east coast and then wrote an album. Their first album Cape Dory is sweet, beachy and full of surf beats, a sound the band has definitely strayed away from with their most recent release, Ritual in Repeat. I read an interview Moore had with Now Magazine where she said she stated:
“When we first started making music, our scope and abilities were very limited. I remember thinking at one point that the surf beat was my favourite beat, and why would there be any other rhythm in any song other than that beat?” says Moore.
“But by the time we were done touring that first record, I felt like I was going to kill myself if I had to hear it again.”
I bought the album five days before the gig to do some much-needed homework while supporting Sonic Boom’s big move to Spadina and Queen. I felt a strong love for some tunes and a dislike for others (namely, the likeliness of “Needle and a Knife” to Carly Simon’s “Your So Vain”). The album’s redeeming bits are the tunes “Night Vision” and the vintage sounding tune “Bad Girls.”
Super cheesy tune, “I’m Callin'” actually came off real slick live. Guitarist Riley started the beeping riff from the tune on the keyboard and made an awesome transition to continue the same riff on guitar. In my mind, saving (or distracting) me from the otherwise annoying, skippable song.
Moore was in good shape for this gig. The band looked a bit frazzled, declaring that their visit was only to be a two-hour stop in Toronto because of their gig in Cleveland the following day. Nearing the beginning of her set she sheepishly thanked everyone for being at the show over another gig that evening in town of a band she said she loved and would leave nameless (Beach House at Lee’s). Early Mod Club shows allow for doubling up, an absolutely likely reality of Tennis’ gig, as it was over by 11pm.
The set was very divided, the first half dedicated to their new album and the second half allowing for older tunes like “Marathon,” which Moore dedicated to the audience and one of my favourite tunes, “Pigeon,” both from their 2011 release Cape Dory. They only played a few songs from their 2012 release Young & Old – “Petition” and “It All Feels the Same” serving as the crowd shaking dance tunes.
Between my pal Natalie and myself, we had both watched Tennis play quite a few times in Toronto, but all on different occasions. She saw them with their early starts at the Drake and the most recent gig opening for Haim at the Kool Haus. I’ve seen them play the Horseshoe and the Phoenix. Apparently, the relentless band even played the Garrison somewhere in between, which neither of us attended… Pretty amazing. I guess touring has yielded an eclectic fan base comprising of a surprising number of men… Who knew?
Note Alaina’s short bob, very confident: