High tide, high tide.
For a couple of bars during the early show last night at Vaudeville Mews by Colorado blog and The New York Times Style Mag darlings Tennis, singer Alaina Moore stepped away from her keyboards and did a kind of ecstatic, high-stepping dance. It happened faster than you could pull your iPhone out of your pocket, slide to unlock it, and wait for the artificial aperture on the camera feature to open (hypothetically). It was a pretty great little understated encapsulation of a pretty great little understated set. Tennis play sweetly aching fuzz-pop songs with Moore's lilting, powerful vocals and lyrics about travel by sea; husband Patrick Riley picks out prickly, trebly guitar bits way up on the neck, and they have a live drummer, though I haven't been able to find dude's full name anywhere (sorry, dude). It's a little like Baltimore dream-pop seducers Beach House-- hey, Tennis even have a great 7" A-side called "Baltimore", which closed their set-- but also a little like other things that are a bit more upbeat and extroverted, including Headlights' "Cherry Tulips", maybe, or Best Coast without the anti-"California Gurls" 'tude.

As far as I can tell, Tennis don't really tour much, and their set last night was part of a brief stint that will take them to New York in a week, so it was gratifying to see that they've got it together a lot more than you might expect from a band at this stage (though there were still the occasional kinks of feedback to work out). They seem to have a realistic view of internet hype-- "Even though everyone wants us to take it really seriously, at the end of the day this started as a hobby for us," Riley told The A.V. Club-- and that carried over to a set that was modest and sort of innocently earnest in a way that really appealed to me. "Did that sound OK?" asked Riley after an early song, when Moore stepped away from the mic; at the end, when the (surprisingly big, both for a Tuesday night and for such a relatively new band-- I wonder if Joe Lawler's Juice coverage helped?) crowd kept asking for more, Moore apologized, saying they'd only been a band for a few months and don't have any more songs. Fair! I've been listening a lot lately to DirecTV's "College Rock" music channel, which has this weird selection of songs-- both super-current, like that new Washed Out thing with Caroline Polachek, or a few years old and not exactly what I'd expect, like the Dandy Warhols' "Smoke It"-- and Tennis' hugely catchy "Marathon" airs at least daily, somehow. Sounded great live; they couldn't do the female backing harmonies with this lineup, obviously, but it didn't matter. Before another song, Moore asked us to slow dance, like in high school; Mrs. Des Noise did, with our friend Shane, who I like too much to beat up (as if I would/could anyway). I bought a tape.

Hallelujah, by and by.
Maid Marian and the Seed of Something opened. Maid Marian plays echoey, loop-driven songs alone with her Yamaha keyboard and snatches of tambourine or harmonica; it was a mesmerizing, fragile set and ended, like last time, with "I'll Fly Away", sung eyes closed, just right. So there's another tape I still gotta get. The Seed of Something are friends through Mews booker Ladd and they keep improving their rough-hewn garage rock sound, despite what I discovered was a change in drummers. "Too many cops are on the streets"-- Freddie Gibbs would empathize.


Broken Spindles. Wednesday, Aug. 18. Vaudeville Mews.

Darius Rucker. Thursday, Aug. 19. Iowa State Fair.

** Tapes 'N Tapes. Friday, Aug. 20. Vaudeville Mews.

Sugarland. Saturday, Aug. 21. Iowa State Fair.

Sheryl Crow. Sunday, Aug. 22. Iowa State Fair.

Why Make Clocks. Saturday, Aug. 28. Vaudeville Mews.

** Christopher the Conquered, with the Poison Control Center and the Atudes. Sunday, Aug. 29. Des Moines Social Club.

Canby. Sunday, Aug. 29. Vaudeville Mews.

Sarah Jaffe. Monday, Aug. 30. Vaudeville Mews.

American Idol Live Tour. Tuesday, Aug. 31. Wells Fargo Arena. 

** Pavement, with the Poison Control Center. Saturday, Sept. 11. Uptown Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Hot Hot Heat. Tuesday, Sept. 14. Vaudeville Mews.

** Best Coast, with Male Bonding. Friday, Sept. 17. Grinnell College.

All Tiny Creatures, with the Autumn Project, Blutiger Fluss. Friday, Sept. 17. Vaudeville Mews.

Maxilla Blue. Friday, Sept. 24. Vaudeville Mews.

** Scout Niblett, with the Land of Blood and Sunshine. Sunday, Sept. 26. Vaudeville Mews.

** David Dondero, with Darren Hanlon, Derek Lambert. Tuesday, Sept. 28. Vaudeville Mews.

** The Strange Boys, with Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, Natural Child, the Jitz. Friday, Oct. 1. Vaudeville Mews. 

Band of Horses. Friday, Oct. 1. Val Air Ballroom.

Passion Pit. Monday, Oct. 4. Val Air Ballroom.

Joan of Arc. Thursday, Oct. 28. Vaudeville Mews.

Electric Six, with the Constellations, the Jitz. Tuesday, Nov. 2. Vaudeville Mews.

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