Tennis - Cargo, London (06/07/2011)

Laura Bruneau | Sunday, 17 July 2011

Tennis - Cargo, London (06/07/2011)

Not only is the music inspirationally good, but the story behind the music is every bit as interesting. Husband and wife Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore saved up, bought a boat (called Cape Dory) and sailed the Eastern Seaboard for seven months. When they returned to terra firma they realised that their trip had reawakened a passion for music they had both previously shared.

Tennis released their first album, 'Cape Dory', in January. It is a concept album but nothing like most concept albums (which tend to be rather self-indulgent hit-or-miss affairs). It charts the trip the couple took, both geographically and emotionally, along the east coast of America. Spending seven months with the same person on a boat must have been arduous at times. On the basis of 'Cape Dory', the two got on like a house on fire because the feeling you get from listening to the album, and from the live performance, is of a joyously happy couple having a lot of fun.

The set is only 40 minutes long due to the fact that the band only has one 28-minute album. Nevertheless the album is of such high quality that there are only a couple of moments when the set dips in quality. For the most part Patrick, Alaina and their drummer sparkle. 'Marathon' is a song of immense beauty. Alaina's 'woo-wooing' is spine-tingling and reminiscent of the 60s girl groups who were so brilliant at combining melodic voices with a feeling of fragile naivety.

'South Carolina' is a highlight on the album, and was a highlight of Tennis' set. Once again Alaina's voice was superlative and during the guitar break-down in the final half of the song, Patrick demonstrated his abilities brilliantly. As the sole guitarist he takes on a big responsibility in making sure the songs transfer to a live setting well.

But perhaps the most heart-warming moment of the night came when Alaina dedicated 'Pigeon' to her husband. It is a love song which is given depth by the fact they must have had to rely on each other during those long, cold months at sea. As Alaina purred the chorus ("I will be there/I promise to take care of you") the crowd swayed with delight at the warmth the two of them had created on stage.

Tennis is destined for great things one feels. It is nearly impossible to imagine anyone being able to resist the charm and melodies of Alaina and Patrick.

Rating: 4/5

Article written by Anthony Cody