Photos and review: Tennis, Miniature Tigers and Sauna at the Hi-Dive - Reverb

Live review: Tennis @ the Hi-Dive

If you think Denver might be incongruous with surf rock, wait till you see Williamsburg-style hipsters at the Hi-Dive. Both incongruities were in play at Saturday night’s Tennis show. Plunging deep v-necks, $600 eyeglasses, short guitar straps and high-water pants all made an appearance at the Hi-Dive, along with sunny coastal sounds and sublime female vocals.

Tennis seems to have popped, mushroom-like, out of the Denver scene, with the help of blog buzz, a forthcoming record courtesy the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney and national critical attention. Their rise to prominence seems to run counter to the standard M.O. of Denver music: struggle, tour, record, repeat. Perhaps it is because of their national recognition, perhaps because of their sunny, coastal sound, that Tennis and their fan base seemed so out of place at a December show at the landlocked Hi-Dive. They didn’t sound bad … not in the least … but at the same time, to say they sounded like your average Denver band would be a stretch.

Photos, below, from a February show at the Hi-Dive.

Sauna’s opening set established a high bar for the evening. Alternately evoking a crepe-paper strewn prom night and a bonkers B-52’s cover band, the high-schoolers rocked the ‘Dive with grinning enthusiasm. Rounding out the middle, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Arizona band Miniature Tigers continued the beachy proceedings with their ’80s-influenced, dance-y rock.

Tennis’ set was pleasant, bright and cheerful, featuring much from the album “Cape Dory,” but also a few new tunes from the forthcoming album (due out in February). While Alaina Moore’s voice is undeniably impressive and Patrick Riley’s surfy guitar is deftly true to the band’s retro roots, the band’s songs melt into one another like the days of a long weekend. Their warming, seafaring sound brought a welcome dose of sunshine to a long winters’ night, but after the energy and fun onstage antics of Sauna and Miniature Tigers they seemed a little blase and aloof. A someone who has covered Denver music for more than five, I felt an odd disconnect from this band. It didn’t hit me until I got home, but the truth is, it was the first time I’d seen a Denver band play the Hi-Dive on the last stop of their tour where it felt like they were just passing through.

Follow our news and updates on Twitter, our whereabouts on Foursquare and our relationship status on Facebook. Or send us a telegram.

Cassandra Schoon is a Denver freelance writer and regular Reverb contributor.

  • Ben Crawford

    I didn’t make it to the show but I’ve seen Tennis play quite a few times, although never in Denver. I could see how it would be odd in December in a dark bar. But thinking about it, I have seen them on a dark evening after a ride through the rain in a dark bar. I just see their music as a kind of escape. It doesn’t conjure feelings in accord with the rest of the evening, but instead is an hour on a sunny beach somewhere in the middle of things. I love it. 

  • Neil Robertson

    And… this article is why I can’t stand the Denver music scene. A scene which often pats itself on the back frequently for the likes of 3OH3!, The Fray, The Epilogues and on and on. A few get major status headlining Warped Tour while others get moderate success (but huge locally) with opening slots for the likes of Fall Out Boy. And all become staples on the 93.3 playlist, you know that same radio station that’s still giving The Offspring and 311 royalty checks. While this is going on though, there are a few other bands from around here that are actually bringing something unique and clicking with a legitimate audience that’s not limited to Littleton, Broomfield, Ft. Collins and Aurora. A lot of these bands have another thing in common: they’re not interested in being a Colorado band. That’s not to say they don’t appreciate our fine state. It’s just that they’re not tapped into solely what’s going on around here. Tennis is one of these bands. They call Colorado home but they get ripped by “local” writers because they’re not playing herman’s hideway every other month. Patrick of The Black Keys wouldn’t be interested if they didn’t bring something to the larger landscape of music. Something, popular local bands aren’t doing with this faux punk that died everywhere else in 2004. Nonetheless, bands like Tennis and American Tomahawk and The Chain Gang of 1974 (latter two having left CO recently though much to what I’m saying) among many many more deserve the attention and respect for what they’re doing. They’re actually true ambassadors of this musically culture rich town spreading it from coast to coast and beyond. So, Cassandra, sorry it didn’t feel like a home crowd to you. Maybe you need to get out more. You’re probably just pissed ’cause you had to miss the epic fest that was hometown for the holidays.

  • Jackhammer

    “A someone who has covered Denver music for more than five, I felt an odd disconnect from this band.”

    please please PLEASE hire an editor!