Sports at Rumba Café

Alexa Romanowski and Michael Valerian


After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from the stage, the undeniably unique dream-pop duo, Sports, kicked off their “Get A Good Look” world tour at Rumba Café on January 13th. The Oklahoma-based group consists of longtime friends Christian Theriot and Cale Chronister. Their intriguing yet simple moniker originated as an ironic way for the band to tell their parents they were making money in sports, and these self-proclaimed wizards have been releasing music under the name Sports since their 2015 debut album Naked All the Time.

Naked All the Time is a fun and up-beat indie album, most comparable to Tame Impala’s style. Sports’ music evolved with their next album, People Can’t Stop Chillin’, which added a lo-fi component to their sound. This is where the band transitioned from standard indie to that of the mystical. Directly leading into their next album, Everyone’s Invited, listeners are taken on a journey out of this world. Originally, it was intended to be a concept album about a country band getting abducted by aliens, who are then forced to make music in their spaceship. It is evident that this idea carried over to the creation of the finished album with its blend of psychedelic rock and western. Sports’ next musical adventure will be released on February 11th of this year.

This is a group that should pride themselves on their commitment to showmanship. The effort that Sports puts into creating an experience for the audience was immediately apparent the second you walked into the venue. The stage transported you into a supernatural jungle. Vines hung everywhere, from the lights to the instruments. Three pillars of mirrors reflect the lights across the stage, adding an immersive psychedelic element to the atmosphere.

Opener Okey Dokey immediately created a warm and welcoming environment with their stage presence and excitement to connect with the crowd. To close their set, the lead singer used his “slack and focus” technique to gather the microphone cord, preparing to infiltrate the sea of people below. After jumping down off the stage, he parted the crowd and made his way towards the back of Rumba Cafè, where he began to sing and proceeded to hug everyone in the crowd (us included).

The Sports experience began in the dark. Committing to the theme of their nature-inspired stage, the band members emerged to a hazy fog illuminated by soft green lights and sounds of a forest. The chirping insects were soon replaced by growing atmospheric synth chords that built up the anticipation until they flawlessly transitioned into one of the bands newest singles, “Ordinary Man”. This futuristic, dramatic, and powerful intro quickly encapsulated the audience and set the bar high for the rest of the show.

This set was rich with a variety of songs ranging from the duo’s earliest album to a few unreleased songs from their upcoming album. An early highlight was their performance of the upbeat hit, “Panama,” from their debut album, a song that any Sports fan is sure to recognize. The dazzling lights synchronized with the dreamy keys backing “Manicure,” creating a captivating experience. About half-way through their set, the black backdrop began to glow with twinkling star-like lights, as their song “Baby Baby” played. This addition really tied the set together, giving it an otherworldly feel.

Their encore came unexpectedly soon when there were technical difficulties, resulting in “Someone You’d Rather be Dating” getting cut off. Once everything was up and running again, they decided to “pretend the whole awkward thing happened already” and transition straight into the final two songs of their set. After debuting another song from their new album, the faux encore concluded with the popular fan favorite, “You are the Right One”.

This was a truly unforgettable show from a band that we cannot wait to see perform again. These space cowboys put on a set that was engaging and entertaining the whole way through. If you have the chance to see Sports live, do not pass it up.