Live Review: Tennis, Pure Bathing Culture; 3Q’14 Reviews (in the column); Oquoa, Dylan Ryan/Sand tonight…
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Tennis continues to grow. Every time the Denver band comes to Omaha the crowd gets bigger. No doubt the crowds will continue to grow as more people discover their new album, Ritual in Repeat (Communion), which hits a sweet spot between their usual airy indie songs and new rhythm-centered tracks.
In fact, the best songs of the night came from that new album. Three songs in, tiny frontwoman Alaina Moore coaxed the crowd to come closer to the stage before introducing the new material, highlighted by jump-beat track “Never Work for Free.” Moore’s voice is a cross between Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays and Olivia Newton John. Tennis’ lighter moments resemble The Sundays mellow rapture or Camera Obscura, while the upbeat numbers, like the disco-thump “I’m Callin'” are pure Xanadu, thanks in part to the subtle guitar funk of bandmate Patrick Riley, who if he wore a white V-neck T-shirt, could pass as Denver Dalley’s older brother.
These days it’s rare for bands to evolve past their first album, but Tennis has only improved with age. Their music certainly has gotten more interesting, and if Moore and Co. ever commit to a full-out dance party who knows how far they’d go. They’ve already come pretty far.
I’m not sure what was going on during Pure Bathing Culture’s set. The Portland band was without their drummer for reasons unknown. When the band acknowledged his absence, someone in the smallish crowd asked if he got fired. “No, but if he misses more shows…”
The trio sounded off-kilter, as if something was wrong with their tuning, and the whole performance listed under water, leaving me a tad bit seasick. The fill-in pre-programmed beats didn’t help matters, nor did the mud-quality mix which masked frontwoman Sarah Versprille’s vocals, making them undecipherable. Or maybe it was just me. I talked to one guy afterward who said he loved their short 20-minute set.
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In this week’s column, the 3rd Quarter 2014 Album Reviews Round-up, with reviews of new ones by The Gotobeds, The Heart Wants, Ty Segall, Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers, Twin Peaks and more. You can read it in the new issue of The Reader or online right here.
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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s the return of local indie super-group Oquoa, along with LA instrumental band Dylan Ryan / Sand and Hotlines. $5, 9:30 p.m.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.