Concert Review: Tennis

Tennis with Overcoats

The Magic Bag

Ferndale, Michigan

Review by: Nick Marinelli



Why didn’t I bring a hat? Really, just some amount of fabric to cover my head would be fantastic right now.

Frigidly, I trudged my way from my certainly illegal parking spot to the front door of the Magic Bag. It’s a quiet an intimate setting, right from the moment you walk in. The bar immediately facing to your right, and a view of the stage that’s visible from the door, the Magic Bag welcomes you right in.

As I headed down to the standing area near the stage I nervously wondered if I had missed the opening act. Deciding to make conversation I asked what quality about Tennis brought them to the show.

One cited their first album Cape Dory while the other referenced that their new album Yours Conditionally had been released earlier in the day. While gushing about my love for new album track, “Modern Woman” with old hits like “Bad Girls” and “Mean Streets,” suddenly the opening act appeared.

It was quite amusing to see that the crowd wasn’t sure what to make of them at first. Appearing in all white sweatshirts and sweatpants, the two women that comprise, Overcoats swayed dreamily from side to side at center stage, which produced quite a hypnotizing effect.

What followed was a series of brightly programmed dance beats with magnificent dually layered vocals delivered by both singers in faultless time.

“The future is women” lyric gathers a passionate response from the crowd. Overcoats’ lyrics were distinguishable in that I was able to pick up on a common theme, the theme being “he,” and the most striking but straightforward lyric coming several songs in, “Don’t you love him so.”

In a music culture dominated by the use of the word “she,” it’s quite refreshing to hear songs using “he” in a romantic manner. Overcoats rounded up their set with a few more danceable numbers, and with the lingering thought that I needed to discover more about this group when time permitted.

Not long after Overcoats set, Tennis arrived. Beginning with the opening track to Yours Conditionally, “In the Morning I’ll Be Better,” immediately brought the crowd into their world. “Never Work for Free,” came quite quickly after and a series of cleverly crafted pop anthems followed. This fellow, in particular, was overjoyed to hear “Mean Streets,” an extra track from third album Ritual in Repeat played with great exuberance mid-set. Lead singer, Alaina Moore and lead guitarist, Patrick Riley were at the forefront for the performance’s entirety, their bond of strength and love on display for the whole audience.

“Modern Woman,” proved to be a special moment and the crowd instantly connected with the tune. Announcing the song, several audience members shouted out opening lyric “Kate! Kate!!” as Moore vaguely commented on the song being about “a certain woman.”

This moment along with many others highlighted the loving, relaxed, warm environment Tennis creates with their music.

As the song swelled the crowd enthusiastically joined in with the astonishingly, relatable chorus, “I think I might have made it real, I think I might have made it so real.”

Instantly it transports one to the feeling of a friendship that ceases to be just surface-level human interaction.

The set breezed by with a swiftness that only became apparent once it was finished, so easy was it to get lost in the succession of a keyboard and guitar melodies.

As they left the stage to much adoration, the crowd clambered for their return. It didn’t take long, and soon they were back on stage, however this time it was just Moore, Riley and his guitar. As Riley played the opening notes to “Bad Girls,” a wave of elation ran through the crowd.

Once Moore started singing, all of the audience, including yours truly, was with her for every word, sending us off into the night with newfound optimism.