Mostly Blessin’ Cocaine : A Review of Shakey Graves and Tennis at the Moore Theatre on November 1st


I would like to start this wonderful little review by stating how strange of a mixture Tennis and Shakey Graves was. Tennis is heavily poppy synth band from Colorado, with a singer that holds remnants of Barbera Streishand. Then you have Shakey Graves, an oddly emotional biker gang-looking dude from Texas, with a very theatrical personality. This strange, strange, combination somehow worked out very nicely, but I am really not sure why. Maybe because she looks like Barbara and he looks a little like the Fonz, are those even from the same era? IDK…

The beautifully vintage lit Moore Theatre shining on Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley brought out the Barbara and Tom Petty-like qualities of the couple, mainly due to their hair dues. Is this the way that they wanted to look? I don’t know, but they did a great job at it. Now, more importantly let’s leave my obsession with their looks in the corner and talk about the performance. The performance in every way revolved around Alaina and that was exactly what I wanted.

There were some small moments where you could tell Patrick was more vital to the band than the other three band members that perform with the duo were, but in general aside from his outfit, and the fact that he most likely wrote the songs with Alaina, he blended in with the band well. Alaina, however, was brilliant. She was soft when she needed to be, and loud when she wanted to be. The control of her voice was awesome to watch as the band followed the strength and fluctuations without hesitation. The synth-pop power of the band was lost a bit due to the Moore Theatre being a seated venue, but it gave me a different perspective of Tennis, as an emotion-heavy pop band, which I really enjoyed.

Shakey Graves followed Tennis, and didn’t try very hard to transition easily from the soft synth, as he went in heavy with his full band to start playing an extremely heavy set. This was very interesting to see, as I still see Shakey as a more successful acoustic artist; however, his band was very good, very over the top, but very good. Much of the first quarter of the show was a mix of jam solos and noise-play mixed in with Shakey’s heavier songs. The second quarter was nice as they took out the drummer and played a bit softer and the shifted into just Shakey playing. This was the best part as his voice and personality really shine when he is playing solo. His personality was really funny. I knew he had been an actor (best known for a small part as a reoccurring character in Friday Night Lights) but I didn’t expect him to have such a theatrical personality. Maybe I only noticed it because I knew he was an actor, but it actually seemed pretty obvious, if you have ever been friends with a theatre kid.

He ended a lot of songs with unnecessary and playful vibratos, added inappropriate vocal expressions in to very emotional songs, and just had a funny way of explaining things. It reminded me of my freshman year roommate trying to explain to me how much he loved the theatre, even when I didn’t ask. It was a charming aspect to the concert, yet not exactly what I expected from a bluesy alt-country artist.

You know when you go to a concert, thinking you know the artist, and then you find out you were wrong, and even though you liked the person, but you are still disappointed? No? Just me? Okay. The two quarters of the show were another section of heavy play with the full band and some more solo work, where he played my favorite song “Hard Wired”, which showed the full emotion and weird sound of his voice in the beautiful Moore.

This show was very long, as Tennis played a full set and Shakey played a set that felt a tad longer than a normal set. Thank goodness it was seated. But despite the length, the show was fantastic. It was like seeing two headliners I would pay full price for, but at the same show and at the Moore, so no complaints here. Also, extra points to anyone who can figure out the title of this review. If you figure it out, you win the amazing reward of self-satisfaction. Congrats.

MARCUS SHRIVER | Biscuit B*tch | KXSU Head Reporter



One thought on “Mostly Blessin’ Cocaine : A Review of Shakey Graves and Tennis at the Moore Theatre on November 1st

  1. Emma Pierce says:

    He’s just a match begging for fire, am I right?
    I attended this show and I agree that it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting! But I’ve seen him twice before (at Neumos and The Neptune) and both those shows were better, especially Neumos. The more intimate, small venue is definitely where he thrives.

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