Tennis and Miniature Tigers at Crescent Ballroom, 12/6/11

Categories: Last Night
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Melissa Fossum

UPDATE: For more photos of Tennis, Miniature Tigers, and Gospel Claws click here.

Let's just put it out there: The first time I heard indie boy-girl buzz band Tennis, I absolutely hated them.

For starters, I generally hate chick singers who don't have anything spectacular to offer (though a few of my all-time faves are Victoria Legrand of Beach House and Neko Case). I also hate blondes (I'm a blonde). Suffice it to say, going into the show, Tennis had a few strikes against them, but there was a large part of me that hoped I would be proved wrong. I wanted to be convinced.

The verdict:  I'm not convinced. Yep, I still hate Tennis.

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Melissa Fossum
Opening band Miniature Tigers, on the other hand, were the highlight of the evening, stealing the show with their Christmas sweaters, incredible amount of stage presence, and a sound that's surprisingly original (think '60s doo-wop mixed with psychedelic indie pop) and very much mood-enhancing. 

After the first song, I felt silly for not knowing much about Miniature Tigers, let alone the band's Phoenix roots. "It's good to be back in Phoenix. This is our hometown," MT frontman Charlie Brand said with an adorable smile.

The all-ages section seemed to be made up largely of Tiger fans, the majority knowing lyrics to songs and dancing their innocent little hearts out. We are told that their third song, "Female Doctor," is from their new album, Mia Pharaoh, set for release next spring.

The dudes have a genuine good time on stage: They laugh, joke with each other, and have a natural interaction with the crowd.

"All right, we have two more songs," [the crowd boos] "after that, Tennis will be playing. And after that, we'll be playing tennis in the parking lot -- table tennis," bassist Brandon Lee chimes in. To which Brand replies: "Good save."

Closing their set was a song titled "Mansion of Misery," with lyrics about "being trapped in this negative vibe." For the audience, it was the exact opposite.

That was, until Tennis took the stage, anyway. From start to finish, Colorado-based husband-and-wife duo 
Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley lacked excitement and rarely interacted with the audience. I'm pretty sure the only words spoken from Moore's mouth were "thank you," and, yes, her talking voice is just as high-pitched and annoying as her singing voice. The drummer smiled a few times, but he also looked pretty stoned.

At best, "Cape Dory" showcased Moore's vocals and the band's endearing lo-fi indie surf sound. But mostly, her "ooohwhaaoohwaa" lyrics just added to her ability to move and sound like a stiff seagull.

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Melissa Fossum


The good news about Tennis is their live sound is identical to what I've heard (over)played on satellite radio stations. The bad news is their songs are hard to differentiate, each sounding exactly like the next.

This could be why I noticed the crowd diminishing toward the end of their set, especially in what was once the high-energy all-ages section during Miniature Tigers' performance. Maybe the youngins had a curfew to make or maybe Phoenix has found a new generation of music lovers who actually know their shit.

During the last encore song, Moore's vocals got deeper. And for that, we "thank you,"
Alaina Moore.

Critics Notebook

Last Night:
Tennis and Miniature Tigers at Crescent Ballroom

The Crowd:
Young faces rocking bangs and glasses and plenty of jaded 20-somethings.

Random Notebook Dump: Moore reminds me of a high school cheerleader turned "indie rocker" after visiting Brooklyn once.

Overheard: (From a few chicks leaving the show early, "I mean, it's not that I don't like Tennis." (uh-huh)

Tennis Set List:
Long Boat Pass
Take Me Somewhere
Never to Part
Sea Farer
Marathon
Petition
Deep in the Woods
Robin
Baltimore
Traveling
Origins
Pigeons
It All Feels the Same (hmm, fitting)
My Better Self
Highroad

Encore:
Cape Dory
South Carolina


Location Info

Venue

Map

Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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24 comments
Augarshitz
Augarshitz

Whore review. It's like fuckig bill o'riley showed up to review a show. "fuck it !! We'll do it live!!!!"

Fucki
Fucki

This is the shittiest review of a show u have ever read and fuck you

Sloan D Walters
Sloan D Walters

Thanks for being the unofficial PR manager of our band Wesley. God knows I would have said something way less eloquent. Nicole...since you live 500 feet from me and I have known you for 20 years I guess it's hard to be mad at you for not mentioning us. You and your dorky/awesome room mate should come join us for wine soon after the baby goes down!

Thanks for the video and all the local love! - Sloan from Gospel Claws

Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious

There's two things going on here that are very obvious to me:

1. The writer didn't see the opening act. 2. The only people talking about the opening act are probably in the band and/or dating the band members.

Wesley Hilsabeck
Wesley Hilsabeck

I can personally guarantee you, Captain, that all members of Gospel Claws—and our collective girlfriends/wives—have better things to do than to anonymously complain in the comments section of our local music blog. We respect the New Times (and their journalists) and do not feel slighted by the lack of a mention. They've given us plenty of love over the years. No worries on our end.-Wesley from Gospel Claws

YEP
YEP

You nailed it. Tennis is lame. If you like Tennis, do yourself a favor and forget all about them and go buy any Camera Obscura record - Tennis has ripped off every aspect of that band. However, the other people here are right.... New Times apparently doesn't like mentioning the local support on touring shows. Gospel Claws killed it and deserve to be mentioned.

Jaygrubler
Jaygrubler

You seriously complained because she only said "thank you" to the crowd? You don't like music much do ya?

IS_THIS_REAL_LIFE
IS_THIS_REAL_LIFE

What is this? Sounds like you only have eyes for Miniature Tigers. No mention of Gospel Claws? I am reading PHOENIX New Times, right? Did you even see the same Tennis set? Good grief. Your jealousy of Alaina Moore is showing.

ooga booga
ooga booga

Whatev, Tennis is a completely unoriginal, less talented rip off of Camera Obscura. Gospel Claws indeed should have been mentioned though.

IS_THIS_REAL_LIFE
IS_THIS_REAL_LIFE

I get that Tennis isn't for everyone and I am a (bigger) fan of Camera Obscura, but Nicole's comments regarding Alaina are a bit harsh.I guess I should have expected such a review from someone who began by saying, "I generally hate chick singers" and "I also hate blondes."

Annoyed
Annoyed

1. Why go to a show if you already dislike the band? 2. What about Gospel Claws, where is the local love? 3. Tennis did a one song encore, not two.

Ejames
Ejames

She went to the show b/c that's her job you moron. She goes to shows, then writes up her opinion...my god.

IS_THIS_REAL_LIFE
IS_THIS_REAL_LIFE

Is it her job to write incomplete reviews too? Gospel Claws (a great LOCAL band) isn't even mentioned.

No
No

This is a stupid review.

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