The Ting Tings
The Social, Orlando, Fl • March 28, 2009
Almost too popular to be playing such a small show, The Ting Tings crammed dance crazy fans into The Social for a sold-out gig that left many standing around outside — hoping to hear snippets of those hook-laden songs that have clawed their way into the subconscious of so many. The show was the Manchester duo’s introduction to Central Florida, and the night after a very high profile spot at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival.
The buzz on this indie/electro pop sensation had the audience on pins and needles. For those who had arrived early enough, opening act Hottub stepped in to turn those pins and needles into jittery shards of glass, or tingling fire jolts to the thighs — depending on where one stood. Fulfilling their promise of getting “gross and slutty,” the shock rap trio spent much of their set in the audience molesting the unexpecting. Men, women — it made no difference, these ladies grabbed, dry humped, and made out with anything with a pulse. The comical side to this attention-starved behavior was that it sent the more conservative girls in the crowd running — terrified of being groped!
A highly sexualized mash-up of Salt & Pepa and Peaches was all that this group amounted to. The music? It wasn’t about the music, it was about being shocking. Yet the only thing shocking about the performance was the number of audience members who allowed these strange, unkempt “musicians” to molest them in the name of “art.”
After such a bizarre train wreck of a performance, seeing Jules DeMartino (drums, guitar) and Katie White (vocals, guitar, keyboard) take the stage was a blessing. After months of accidental listenings, their electro/pop dance music had plowed its way into my head. Seeing that the pair play instruments live onstage, rather than rely on a dj, gave me immediate respect for the band before even hearing whether or not they could actually play.
With only one album to work with, they pretty much played We Started Nothing on shuffle — saving some of the bigger hits for late in the game. Not that the majority of the by-then-toasted fans appeared to mind waiting through album cuts like “Be the One” and “Fruit Machine” to get to “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” and “That’s Not My Name.” From the first breathy utter from the lips of the blond and beautiful Ms. White, and the first strum of the guitar followed by the fall of the sticks by the bespectacled DeMartino, the dance party was on!
Even when the lively pair decided to slow things down, and bust out a ballad, as they did with “Traffic Light,” the energy hung in the air like oxygen. The lullaby moment, that coupled White’s charming and sweet Lily Allen approach to the vocals with DeMartino’s subtle island guitar strum, stood out not just for its boldness in being an entirely not danceable tune (lest, of course, we include the middle school slow dance), but for its charming tranquility. It was, by far, the most memorable minutes of the entire set. White held the swaying heads captivated with little more than her sweet voice.
These are not your average dance club darlings.
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.
The Ting Tings: www.thetingtings.com