Review and photos – The Ting Tings at the Commodore, Vancouver April 11 2009
– review by Shawn Conner/photos by Melissa Skoda
So The Ting Tings returned to Vancouver last night, and after all I’d heard about the live show I wasn’t going to miss the duo a second time (third, if you count the misfire at CMW in Toronto). This goes against my innate indie-rock snobbery, which states that if I miss a band the first time, and it gets more popular by its second go-round, I am beholden to dismiss the act as overrated. Especially if, as in the case of the Ting Tings, the show had been sold out months in advance.
The Ting Tings are not, however, overrated. What the Manchester band (most likely) is, is a flash-in-the-pan, but a great one. I can’t imagine a second album from these guys (drummer/guitarist Jules De Martino and singer/guitarist/fashion plate Katie White) living up to the charm and energy of We Started Nothing, their debut, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the ride while we can.
The Ting Tings circa 2009 is a lean, mean dance machine, with barely enough material to fill an hour but almost all of it first rate. Needless to say, the highlights were what anyone who’s heard the singles would expect – the title track, “Great DJ” and, for a roof-raising encore, “That’s Not My Name”. Surprises were few, but the Goth-tinged “We Walk” – one of the album tracks that demonstrates there may be more to this band than catchy pop tunes and dance beats – was a great set-opener: disarmingly dark yet punchy.
And at a show where the girls outnumbered the guys, White – in blue tights, red shoes, and funky hat pulled down over her eyes – was the evening’s hero, posing for photos to satisfy cellphone shutterbugs and bounding onto De Martino’s drum riser to play guitar in a rock-star fashion that brought cheers from the crowd. It won’t last forever, but right now at least, the Ting Tings are deservedly at the top of the indie-pop/dance heap.
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