Review: Tennis at the Bluebird Theater in Denver - Reverb

Tennis at the Bluebird Theater, 11-27-13 (review)

Anyone for Tennis? The Denver-based band drew a jubilant hometown crowd to the Bluebird Theater the night before Thanksgiving. With an up-tempo set of their non-abrasive, indie-pop music, Tennis helped get the holiday underway.

Husband and wife team Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, both of whom grew up in Denver, form the core of Tennis. The Bluebird show concluded the duo’s fall tour, which Moore noted included getting robbed, surviving a tornado and everybody in the band falling ill along the road.

They sounded no worse for the wear, and the band had a home court confidence the entire show. Moore’s strong vocals carried each song, commanding the audience and the stage. None of the other players sang or spoke a word during the show, but proved they are competent musicians who definitely have found their groove together. Still, Moore does the band’s heavy lifting. Maybe that’s why it’s her and her alone appearing on the cover of their albums “Young and Old” and “Cape Dory” and the new EP “Small Sound.” Moore’s powerful, listen-up-now voice layers the sweet with the grit. Imagine a cross between Nora Jones and one of the Wilson sisters from Heart. With colored stage lights playing on her long, wavy, blonde hair, Moore appeared a throwback to rock chicks of the ’70s as she stood at her keyboard.

Moore’s vocals get instrumental support from guitars, stormy drums and a wailing saxophone. Tennis served up songs from their repertoire, but also a brand new tune the group had never performed live. The crowd’s reaction to Tennis? Love love: a tennis pun, but also a truth. The only shortcoming was a brief set, but the appreciative audience demanded an encore. The band was happy to oblige the hometown fans. Tennis heads out on a new tour in early 2014.

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Colleen Smith is a longtime contributor to The Denver Post and the author of the acclaimed novel “Glass Halo” and “Laid-Back Skier” by Friday Jones Publishing.