by Matt Kelchner
In the depths of the subterrain music hall that is Underground Arts, indie pop darlings Tennis and Pure Bathing Culture come to town for a Tuesday night concert. Hometown musician Peter Matthew Bauer was a last minute add to the lineup that already featured a pair of well known names around the scene. Show-goers were treated act-after-act with performances that proved that each was worthy of the buzz surrounding them.
First up for the night was former organist for the Walkmen, Peter Matthew Bauer. With his former group now on a long term hiatus, Bauer has shifted his sights to his solo work. Tuesday night marked his first show in months and also served as the debut for a new band lineup. In his short but sweet set, Bauer ran through a number of hits from his debut LP, Liberation, released earlier this year. In between songs like “Shiva the Destroyer” and “Irish Wake in Varanasi”, Bauer managed to work in a new tune as well. Bauer made the most of his opening set and left the crowd charged for the night to come.
After the stage was set and soundcheck finished, Pure Bathing Culture arrived on stage to a crowd eager for them. Lights were dimmed a bit to set the mood for the evening. Singer Sarah Versprille shined as the rest of the band behind her laid the groundwork song after song. The charming, sensible tunes turn on dreampop that Pure Bathing Culture take came through Tuesday night. The emotional build ups and soaring vocals behind that catchy and cozy rhythms were as strong as ever. Songs like “Ivory Coast” and “Scotty” left the crowd in awe time after time. As the final notes of the last song rang out, fans were left yearning for more from the Portland group.
Listening to the albums one after another that Tennis have released is like hearing the way pop music has morphed throughout the decades. From the summer, breezy 50s sounds on Cape Dory to the 80s r&b feel of this year’s Ritual in Repeat one thing has remained the same, the ability for the song hooks to get lodged in your head. Days after the concert Tuesday night I found myself humming along to one tune after another.
They came out to a roar from the crowd. The duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, along with their drummer and bassist, took the stage ready to set the night off. The happy and bubbly Moore took command of the audience while Riley bopped and swayed as he wailed away on his guitar. With much of the night was devoted to songs like “Viv Without The N”, “Night Vision” and other tracks off Ritual in Repeat, Tennis also treated their fans to a few older hits as well. Songs like “It All Feels The Same” and “100 Lovers” still rang loud with the crowd.
With such a great amount of energy and emotion flowing through the night, Tennis opted to skip out on the traditional act of walking off and coming back on for the encore, giving the fans extra time to dance and sing with them. The night ended with the best of new and old for Tennis, “Bad Girls” followed by “Marathon”. WIth a new album and shows as strong as this one, it’s clear that these pop revivalists aren’t going anyway. Tennis gave the people who came out Tuesday night a performance to remember. With a new album and shows as strong as this one, it’s clear that these pop revivalists aren’t going anyway. As the night drew to a close, it was clear that it was game, set, match for the Denver band and their fans at Underground Arts (I couldn’t go the entire article without dropped a tennis pun).