Run It Back - Tennis at Cat's Cradle

Posted on 31 January 2018

In addition to curating the best shows and events in the Triangle each week, we want to give you a taste of how those shows went. A virtuous circle. Here’s the first of many from “Run It Back,” a series in collaboration with The Rundown that features reviews of the things we covered on the podcast.


As mentioned on the pod, my knowledge of Tennis prior to the show was limited. Any tunes I recognized were purely coincidence, but some of their songs had a familiar indie pop sound that was worth investigating at $15 a ticket.

In front of a packed house at Cat’s Cradle, full of run-of-the-mill hipster Carrboroans and this one cute older couple I was sure belonged to someone in the band, leads Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley glided through song after song with energy, “hypersexual” swag, and just enough PDA, originating entirely from Moore’s side of the stage, to be endearing without being suffocating. Mid-set, she shared with the audience her brush with hipster death at a Wholefoods Market courtesy of a bout with the flu that Moore was still combating during Saturday’s performance. A feat not to be understated. Mandy and I could barely crawl through this week’s Rundown recording just from being out too late Friday and Saturday night.

Mariel, friend of the pod and (likely) future contributor at RUNAWAY, was also in attendance. Like most of the crowd, she was captivated by Moore’s stage presence. “The music was good and her voice was pure and unstrained. You felt what she was feeling when she sang.” That feeling was one of a woman who was unafraid to express her feminism and sexuality while simultaneously talking about coping with her anxiety. “I loved her character. It was real and honest.”

Part of the reason for producing The Rundown is to get out to more shows; a mission for both our hosts and the listeners. There’s something to be said about taking a chance on an act you know little about and being pleasantly surprised. This was the philosophy of our elders. Discovering new artists was an adventure into the unknown. Fans showed up to a venue off the strength of that venue’s curating tastes, not just the artists headlining. Sure, there’s a risk there and money doesn’t grow on trees, but you don’t have to take this plunge alone. The Internet can be a great place to find curators, show reviews (like this one!), and friends willing to take the plunge with you.

Back to Tennis. Given the circumstances (Moore’s recent flu-induced near-death experience), I was impressed with how well the show flowed. We were in and out of a quality set in slightly over an hour, even with interludes audience banter. Artists, you’ve been warned. Keep it short and sweet. Play the hits, try some new shit, but let’s keep it movin’.

Unless your name is Norah Jones. Then you do whatever you want.

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