Tennis Serves Up Sweet Tunes As Good Vibes Multiply Like White Rabbits
White Rabbits had a lot to celebrate Tuesday, and the crowd at Union Transfer joined in the celebration. The Missouri-born, and Brooklyn-based band has embarked on a month long North American tour (including an upcoming stop at South by Southwest) and released their third album, “Milk Famous” earlier in the day. White Rabbits is playing with Tennis for a few dates on the tour (to be joined later by Philly’s own The War on Drugs). The trio Daughter, from the United Kingdom, opened up the show.
With the crowd buzzing, Daughter snuck onto the stage. Within seconds, the crowd’s attention shifted front and center to the soothing vocals of Elena Tonra. Drummer Remi Aguilella played most of the show with mallets and drums tuned to create a deep echo, notable on the second song, “Landfill,” from their latest EP, “His Young Heart”. Guitarist Igor Haefeli showed off his skill using a bow to create a beautiful, haunting sound. The final song highlighted the quality of Tonra’s voice, at once both delicate and powerful, commanding the room to listen to discover if she will descend into tears or explode in joy.
Up next, husband and wife duo Tennis took command of the show. Singer and keyboardist Alaina Moore and guitarist Patrick Riley recently released their second album “Young & Old”. The album is aptly named as it describes Tennis’s music and style, which ranges from the beautiful melodies of fifties (found in the opening song, “Deep in the Woods”) to the 21st century, picking up elements of each of the last six decades. Of Moore, one audience member noted, “I could picture her walking off the set of Blossom and onto this stage.” This sense of self-comfort permeated throughout the band and stage throughout their set.
Moore and Riley were joined by two musicians to play drums, bass, and keys. Riley’s guitar ventured at times into a slow surf sound (“Pigeons”), while Moore’s vocals retained their soulful quality (“Petition”). When the sound got into the groove, the energetic crowd clapped along. While most of the set was comprised of material from their recent release, Tennis played at least one new song, recently written on the road, illustrating their groovier side. Tennis finished up with their latest, upbeat single, “Origins,” which was met by a dancing crowd. Take note of Tennis; this is only the beginning.
White Rabbits came out for their co-headlining set, launching into their single “Heavy Metal,” filled with creative, paranoia-inducing sounds and intense rhythms. The members of the group, Matt Clark, Alex Even, Jamie Levinson, Stephen Patterson, and Greg Roberts, moved around the stage, switching instruments (at times playing with three guitarists, two drummers, or a keyboardist).
The band played a number of crowd favorites from each album, including “The Plot,” from their 2007 debut, “Fortnightly”, “Percussion Gun,” from “It’s Frightening” (which got the audience dancing in a frenzy), and “Temporary,” which has been getting some recent buzz, off of “Milk Famous”. One excited audience member repeatedly pumped his fist in the air as they launched into “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong.”
The performance from White Rabbits included some great vocal melodies, powerful guitar, harmonics, and intricate layers of sound that used feedback, and the subtle sounds of maracas and tambourines. One of the many highlights of the night, “Back for More,” provided a number of these examples within a single song.
After a short break, White Rabbits returned for the encore. In a sea of couples holding hands, one couple slow danced to the band’s performance of “I Had It Coming,” demonstrating either that romance trumps cynicism or that anything sung with a sweet melody will always absolve the guilty.
[Article by MK]
You can check out an expanded photo gallery of the show below: