From the moment I first walked into Larimer Lounge a couple years ago, I knew I had found my spot. This was the first place I had found in Denver that reminded me of San Francisco. It’s a dive, they pour stiff cheap drinks, they have an outside patio in the back and they book some great up-and-coming bands. What more can you ask for?
The only problem I have with Larimer is that I get so caught up in the scene and social aspect of the venue that sometimes the music becomes no more than background noise. I guess this isn’t really a problem except that last night that aspect of the venue was to blame for me missing all the opening bands.
Prior work-related engagements kept us over in LoDo until about 10:00, so by the time we got to the Lounge we had just missed Gauntlet Hair‘s 25 min set. Bummed about missing it, we proceeded to the back patio to meet up with our friends that were already there. This patio life sucked us in and that’s where we were through Flashlights‘ set. They came, they played and we never even went inside. Flashlights were no more than music on the jukebox; a soundtrack to our conversations about other shows, hockey, relationships, work and whatever else our alcohol-fueled mouths could rattle off.
Determined not to miss the Tennis set, I made my way in and took my spot in the packed main room right before midnight.
If you don’t know the story of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore yet, you haven’t been paying attention. This husband and wife duo are getting national attention on sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum, blogs like Gorilla vs. Bear and even national and local media outlets like Denver Post and NY Times. For those of you not in the know, here are the cliff notes:
The couple stopped going to concerts and started saving money. After 3-4 years of saving they bought a sailboat and sailed along the Atlantic coast for 8 months. They documented this journey the only way songwriters should…by writing songs. In interviews, Patrick and Alaina, as Tennis, suggest these songs were never meant for public consumption. But here they are, back home in Denver and on the verge of becoming the next indie darlings with their lo-fi, surf/sunshine pop.
They took the stage at their scheduled time of midnight to a packed house. Patrick with his guitar, the tiny Alaina (with her curly blonde hair) behind her keyboard and James (who learned all the songs over the past 5 days) on drums. Tennis have only released 3 songs, so the first song they played was the 4th I have heard. Even though the song was new to me, I would have been able to tell it was Tennis even if I weren’t standing in front of them….they have a unique sound. Let’s just call in sail pop.
They remind me of Beach House on stage for the obvious reasons, but Alaina is more Jenny Lewis or Neko Case than she is Victoria Legrand . Her voice is front and center instead of an ethereal instrument like the women of the dream pop bands. Jenny and Johnny, She & Him, Lucky Soul, Camera Obscura…these are all bands that come to mind when watching and listening to Tennis. I do have to say it’s quite strange to hear a voice as large as Chan Marshall‘s coming out of a girl that has such a tiny, fragile physique. I am sure her cute, bubbly look, along with her random, frantic dancing around the stage, is only going to help their image.
They performed Marathon, Baltimore and South Carolina. They also played 5 or so other songs that I’m sure will be on the album when there is an album. 30 minutes later we were back on the patio…the show was over. 30 minutes was a little short for my taste, but Alaina did admit they ‘are probably better sailors than (they) are musicians’. I’m guessing that just comes from experience and as they gain experience through these 30 minute sets they will continue to mature and will be playing longer sets at larger venues before you know it.
Take a listen to other tracks at MySpace