Tennis Joins the Gun Control Debate With a Very Sad Message to the NRA

Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, the husband-and-wife duo known as Tennis.
Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, the husband-and-wife duo known as Tennis. Luca Venter
Denver has no shortage of political musicians diving into the mosh pit of today's cacophonous political discourse.

Wheelchair Sports Camp MC Kalyn Heffernan is running for mayor months after joining the disability advocacy group ADAPT in a multi-day sit-in in Republican Senator Cory Gardner's office to persuade him not to revoke the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Cheap Perfume has been advocating for Nazi-punching. And Westword Mastermind Ill Se7en has been working on the front lines with youth and law enforcement to end police violence.

While those acts have never shied away from activism, less overtly political musicians are also jumping into the fray.

Breakout artist Nathaniel Rateliff and his social-justice nonprofit The Marigold Project surprised fans when he announced that he and his band, the Night Sweats, would take to the stage at Levitt Pavilion alongside the Chicano funk act Los Mocochetes to advocate for an end to gun violence. Now another Denver act, Tennis, has waded into the politics of gun-violence prevention.

Tennis? The hyper-cool, retro-clothed married couple with throwback songs who wrote music on a sailboat and sound like a low-key Belle and Sebastian with fewer harmonies? Yep. Tennis.

Unlike Rateliff, Heffernan and Ill Se7en, who have all championed policy reform, Tennis's mode of politicking — at least on Twitter — is just plain depressive.

Here's what Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, the husband-and-wife duo behind the band, had to say to the National Rifle Association:
eventually we will have all died in a mass shooting and the gun control debate will be resolved @NRA
This grim aphorism appeared days after a shooting at a country nightclub in Thousand Oaks, California, and weeks after a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

If the political squabble over gun control has become a boxing arena for rabid ideologues and partisans, Tennis — whose members are ambassadors for the nonprofit War Child that advocates for children suffering through international conflicts — has injected a different, less predictable position into the debate: a spirit of despair, the kind of sad thought nobody wants to rally behind because it so clearly expresses how hopeless things really feel.

Moore and Riley will soon embark on Solo in Stereo, their two-person tour sans the rest of the band, that will make a Friday, November 23, stop at the Central Presbyterian Church in Denver.

The band has made this video to demonstrate what fans can expect:

"The shows won't be acoustic," Moore says in a statement, "but they will be pared down."

Pared down? That's a great way to describe Tennis's jab at the NRA.

The Tennis show will take place at 7:30 p.m., Friday, November 23, at Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman Street. Tickets are $27 to $29 and can be purchased from Swallow Hill Music, which is presenting the show.

This story was updated Saturday, November 10.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris