Tennis played a groovy set at Music Box San Diego on Friday, November 24th.

Tennis’s last tour ended in New York City with an emotional show at the Bowery Ballroom; singer-keyboardist Alaina Moore tearfully thanked her fans for their unconditional support when certain music executives didn’t believe in Tennis. Tennis decided to do another tour this year. There weren’t any emotional speeches at Tennis’ Thanksgiving weekend concert, but the indie-pop husband and wife duo’s performance was emotive nevertheless.

Wild Ones were the sole opener. From Portland, Oregon, this dream-pop group might attract some Tennis fans: Their melodic sensibilities are like Tennis’ catchy tunes. There’s a San Diego connection here: Wild Ones’ albums and EP were released on the San Diego-based label, Topshelf Records.

Tennis played with a set dominated with songs from Yours Conditionally (2017), though other old favorites made an appearance; standouts included “Traveling,” “I’m Callin,'” and “My Better Self.” Their older tracks are straight indie-pop but newer albums are reminiscent of groovy 70’s bands like Fleetwood Mac. Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley even looked like 70’s babes: Moore’s curly hair and high waisted pants and Riley’s glittery shirt definitely oozed disco glam.

The band gave their music interesting spins live: Moore explored different notes in her vocals and guitarist Patrick Riley played variations of his solos. Sure, playing an album back pitch perfectly takes talent, but live shows are more engaging when the artist thinks beyond original arrangements.

Moore was an engaging front woman: She explained the origins of some of their songs (“Coconut Grove” was the first song Tennis wrote; “Matrimony” was her anniversary gift to husband Riley) and gave Riley’s grandmother a shout out. Grandma wanted to see Tennis perform so much that she drove all the way from Phoenix, Arizona.

The Music Box crowd was enthusiastic to hear the sugary sweet tunes of Tennis. However, sometimes the crowd got too loud to the point where it was hard to hear or focus on the band. That’s possibly the nature of shows taking place in “party central”–aka Downtown San Diego.

Like their New York City encore closer earlier this year, Tennis ended their set by dismissing their touring members and playing a duo rendition of “Bad Girls” off Ritual In Repeat (2015). Vocalist Moore has a clear, soulful voice but this sparse arrangement of the song really showed off her singing chops.

Tennis will continue their tour through the Winter into February 2018. Find out more on their website.

Review by: Lara McCaffrey
Photos by: Kaitlyn Greene