Tennis @ The Lexington, London 07.01.11

The Lexington; a venue that resides in the near centre of Islington. A place known for being a stepping stone to success for bands. Tonight the Lexington holds a new band; dare we say, a new TYPE of band for 2011,Tennis. The inexplicable band name for Denver husband-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley.

Jan 7th, 2011 at The Lexington, London / By Joshua Edwards
Tennis The night's aura fills with a sense of excitement, and yet apprehension as this is Tennis' first live show outside of the North America. An unevenly matched couple, in height at least, step onto the stage and move the equipment from one side of the stage to the other whilst all eyes are upon them.

The woman grabs the mic and exclaims "Good Evening London, this is our first song ‘Take Me Somewhere’...No offense". The song begins with a short tense moment as they strike each other’s instruments with confidence; they continue to play the same melody until what seems to be a completely random member of the audience steps onto the stage and astonishes the people by sitting behind a nearby drum kit - he starts to play, and all is in it’s right place.

As expected from an American band there's a lot of conversation and interaction between audience and band. Alaina Moore speaks with a voice reminiscent of a small child wanting candy; even so, her ability to drag people into her conversation is effortless. She informs the audience that tonight there is a theme to this gig "It's our friend's wedding tomorrow and we're not going to be there so tonight's theme is a Wedding Band theme. So everybody tonight, please just imagine that Louise and Carl have just got married!"

As the set moves along at an exceeding rate and each song is explained between breaks, the audience takes time to reflect that the music being played tonight has completely removed the previous anxious atmosphere. The music has taken the people on a journey to California - on a beach staring at the ocean and listening to the pretentious waves.

Alaina's lyricism howls nostalgia, but not necessarily of perfect times. Sometimes the happiest of tunes are followed by dark and deep lyrics. Songs like ‘Marathon’ and ‘Long Boat Pass’ are explained as the worst arguments that the duo have ever had. Explaining lyrics whilst onstage can lead to narcissism and arrogance for band members, but Tennis still stand as equals to the audience and play till their hearts content. They are new to the continent and country and are not trying to out-do or overdose on their performance; this is either out of fear or out of cleverness for people to return to a gig in the future, but their performance is as energetic as Olympic sports and child-like excitement combined.

As they approach their last song, sweat drips down Patrick Riley's face and Alaina Moore's organ appears to be lowering itself from being pounded so hard and danced on multiple times; they both stand next to the mic and mutter the words together romantically "We love what we do, we are Tennis, we played tonight for confidence, and you guys certainly helped us..." They pause and look into each other's eyes and Alaina then finishes their sentence "...and we couldn't be happier!" The pair then rush away from each other and drive into their last song ‘Water Birds’.

The final chords are played and audience applauds for their passion and wit throughout the show, it's a wonder that not a single piece of underwear has been thrown at this point. Alaina grips the microphone and exclaims "Thank you so much for tonight, we were so worried that it wouldn't work tonight but you've really lifted our hopes up , our album is called CAPE DORY and it's on sale just over there [she points]”. The audience replies with an even bigger roar of screams, whistles and claps until blood might show. After tonight, it's safe to say that this band will be seen over here again, hopefully in a bigger venue.

Bearded caught up with Tennis after their show to ask a quick few questions:

So after playing tonight how much has it changed your view on a European tour?

We were so scared about playing outside of America that we almost didn't come. Thank goodness we changed our minds! Tonight has provided us with an all new type of confidence and we just can't wait to play the rest of the tour.

How has tonight differed from other performances?

Well, we've not been able to do a proper stage practice as we were tight on time, but we played a brand new song tonight. It's never been played before anywhere until tonight, we wrote it just a few days ago and thought we could put it in the set. We're so glad it worked.

Do you think that going on a European tour will expand your audience from just Youtube views and Myspace listens to album purchases?

Totally! I think that since we've brought the album with us to each show, people who haven't really heard all of our songs will buy the album and be really impressed with it, it took us a long time to make, and there's a lot of love in that album too. That's what people need sometimes, something to give them a pick me up.

Will you be returning to London anytime soon?

We definitely want to come back to England; maybe some more shows than just the one next time round but expect to see us back in England and London later on in the year, probably with a new album if we keep working as hard as we are now.