Summer finally arrived this week and The Jericho Tavern played host to Tennis on Wednesday evening in what promised to be a suitable welcome to the season.
Traps delivered a few numbers first. This foursome possessed a boisterous pulse and an engaging guitar when it decided to step up, but this didn’t happen often enough; the penultimate song being a good example of an arresting opening riff promising something the next three minutes failed to deliver on. The lead vocalist, however, epitomised their charming stage presence as she punctuated the controlled energy of their music with amiable chats with the audience.
A capacity to charm is also a clear ability of Tennis’ and tonight they did so with a set that had you convinced they must be as pleasant as their music sounded. Theirs was a tailor-made soundtrack to the warm summer evening. Alaina Moore’s voice is the centrepiece; a powerful instrument that at times almost appears strangely lethargic, even in the midst of one of her startling vocal surges. She seemed to grow in strength as the evening progressed and, by the time ‘Baltimore’ came along to usher in the final flurry of songs, was a delight of controlled, melodic force, pushing the night on towards its balmy end.
Throughout, this unassuming powerhouse was accompanied by what is clearly a very well-oiled band. They breezed through the set with hardly a pause as the three members in front of drummer James Barone swapped instruments every couple of songs. It never felt rushed, always coolly efficient. Indeed, by the time the encore came round (Moore almost apologetically announcing that they only had one song left in the repertoire anyway) you had no doubt that Tennis are a group that know exactly what they can do well and simply go out to do it; nothing more, nothing less.
Maybe this is due to a relaxed confidence, the origins of which were nurtured in never having intended to release the songs that made up their first album; maybe a side effect of an inherent chemistry that exists between Moore and her husband, the band’s guitarist Patrick Riley. Perhaps it’s neither. But it’s a joy to hear them perform and if you’re lucky enough to do so when the weather complies, you’ll be the witness to a thoroughly pleasurable display of easy-going musical craftsmanship that feels inextricably linked to long summer days.
Rory McCluckie (DI Reviewer), 05/06/12
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