Review: Tennis Packs the Cat’s Cradle

James Ross Kiefer, Editor-in-Chief


Photo by Emery Kiefer: Alaina Moore of Tennis

Great fashion, big hair and exuberant sexuality was in the air Saturday night at The Cat’s Cradle. Indie darlings Tennis and Overcoats managed to attract a sold out crowd to the intimately sized venue, each offering a playful set of dancy and soulful songs.

Nestled off Main St. in the hip and docile Carrboro, North Carolina, it’s easy to completely gloss over the Cradle. The building rests behind a large parking lot across from Weaver Street Market. However, Saturday saw fans wrapped around the entrance, eager to find their spot for the show. Inside the stench of college students, locals, suave looking hipsters and spilled beer filled the air. The dimly lit stage was the center of everyone’s attention.

Overcoats – aptly named for their thick, white jackets – opened up the show. Made up of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, Overcoats has been coming off success of their first full length album “Youth” back in April; the track “23” earned them a place on NPR’s 100 Best Songs Of 2017. The band has been consistently touring since March in support of their debut effort. Beginning their set was “Father,” an ethereal piece that doesn’t really offer much for in terms of beat, but shows the soft, almost folk-like style typical that permeates most of “Youth.” The song “Smaller Than My Mother” was groovey number that was supported by a techno pulse that felt like it could have been ripped off an Aphex Twin record.

If anything can be said about Overcoats it’s that most of their stage presents lies in their hips. The duo fills the space between vocal melodies by simply having a dance with each other, making a moment for a twirl or a brief choreographed step. At any second in their set it’s clear that Overcoats is having more fun than anyone else in the room.


Photo by Emery Kiefer: JJ Mitchell (left) and Hana Elion performing at the Cat’s Cradle


The duo ended their set with “Leave The Light On” to a roaring applause; Tennis took the stage soon after. Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Tennis was founded by the husband-and-wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. After enjoying some moderate success with 2011’s “Cape Dory,” which featured three affectionately surfy songs that showed Tennis could write a radio single, the band seems to have reached full maturity on “Yours Conditionally” which dropped in March of 2017.

Tennis displayed their pop sensibility on “No Exit,“ which was heavily laden with lush keyboards and a spanky drum beat. “My Emotions Are Blinding” showed the bands affinity for lounge rock – with a chunky bassline, sparse guitar strokes and a classic organ keyboard sound – it had all parts groove and but with a reserved touch.   

Midway during the set Alaina recounted some of the more personal moments of the tour, citing her various health problems. She told one affectionate story of passing out in a Whole Foods and promptly waking up in a hospital, where her husband said something along the lines of if she’d rather they can give up the band and he’ll become an accountant. Luckily that didn’t happen. She also took a moment to thank the crowd for their “raw sexuality.”

As somewhat of an appropriate ending, the stage was stripped of everyone except for Alaina and Patrick as the duo performed “Bad Girls.” There was something almost hypnotic about the track, feeling almost more like a lullaby to a tired crowd more than the end of a long set.


Photo by Emery Kiefer

UNCG student Trey Vanterpool said “I think that Tennis was really good show. They sounded close to their studio version, which can be really good or really bad for a lot of people,” he said.  

And Overcoats were pretty chill too, their lyrics were very touching, but they also looked like they were waiting for the beat to drop a lot of the time.”

Kate Burleson had a more emotional experience. “ I was sobbing completely at the last song,” she said, “I literally shed probably 20 tears.” She cited her favorite moment of the concert was the band’s performance of  “Matrimony,” and even found some solace in “just knowing that she got over her sickness and Patrick didn’t have to become an accountant.”

Tennis will continue the next leg of their tour with Overcoats in Texas. For more shows at the Cat’s Cradle, visit their website at




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