Review: Tennis’ Pollen Blooms at the Riviera Theater 

Spring bloomed just in time for the Pollen tour to come through Chicago. The last time Denver Indie-pop duo Tennis played the Riviera Theater, they were opening up for HAIM in 2014 and now almost ten years later, they’re playing their own headline show. The latest self-produced album from the duo is gushing with dreamy layers of synths and guitars paired beautifully with pianos and catchy melodies perfect for all your spring 2023 playlists. Pollen brings to fruition the sounds of spring that I didn’t know I needed. Tennis has yet to disappoint with any of their work and Pollen hit the mark as now one of my favorite Tennis records.

The Riviera was definitely in for a treat from the duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. Their dreamy, vintage sound is what makes Tennis the vastly underrated band that they are. They opened their set with their loungy tune “One Night with The Valet,” the lead single from the album. Moore is a natural on stage, and she has that glimmer of a star with an amazing voice on top of it all. Her vocals were just as lively live as they are on the studio versions. Accompanying the music were hypnotic visuals of different shapes, colors, perspectives and motion that made it seem like we were watching her music videos in real time. She later played “Runner” off of their previous album, Swimmer, which was a personal favorite of mine and a undeniable highlight of the night.

The band concluded the official part of their set with a fantastic triple decker of an ending. “Let’s Make a Mistake Tonight” grooved the entire audience right into my (and what should be everyone’s) new spring anthem “Pollen Song” before they closed out with “Need Your Love;” a pleasant conclusion to their pre-encore. After a brief walk off the stage, the band came back for three more songs for the eager fans. They closed out the night with an explosive and electrifying performance of “Glorietta,” almost as if they held out their last breath of energy for a striking conclusion to their show.

Tennis has plenty of amazing, catchy indie pop songs and the entire show was jam-packed with them. The show left me going back home and binging all of their music videos to relive that aesthetic they so perfectly captured. Self-releasing all of their more recent music under their own label Mutually Detrimental and being together a whole 15 years now; Tennis are on their way to becoming a power duo in the indie music scene on their own terms.

All photos by Andrew Lagunas.

Andrew Lagunas
Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas is a freelance photographer from Naperville who specializes in portraiture and concert photography. He has an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage and is always looking for new creative outlets.