Gig review: Tenniscoats

TenniscoatsGarnethill Multicultural Centre, Glasgow *****

AS EXPECTED from an event organised by two of Scotland's most respected micro-promoters Cry Parrot and Tracer Trails, everything about this show was refreshingly out of the ordinary.

This included the venue (a community centre), the support bands (ambient soloist Tangles and all-female experimental ensemble Muscles of Joy), and not least the headliners.

Hide Ad

Japanese avante-garde folk-poppers Tenniscoats – husband and wife duo Saya and Takashi Ueno – have a certain well under-the-radar cache that was illustrated by a healthy showing from the local indie intelligentsia.

Members of Franz Ferdinand, Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and The Pastels were in attendance, the latter band having recently collaborated with Tenniscoats on the album Two Sunsets.

The pair's set – performed on nylon-string guitar, a tiny Casio keyboard, melodica and clarinet, with childlike vocals sung in Japanese by Saya – occurred at a pin-drop volume that turned standing beside a heavy breather into a challenge. But why play quiet music loud? The softness and intimacy of sound suited their fragile songs perfectly.

The whole thing couldn't have been more twee if the Uenos had paused for a game of patty-cake, but their melodies were winning and their carefree, joyful amateurism was charming. It was typified by Saya at one point tuning her husband's guitar while he played, and Takashi struggling to stifle laughter as his wife sang a cover of (They Long to Be) Close to You in faltering English.

There couldn't have been a person in the room who didn't want to take Tenniscoats home with them by the end.

Related topics: