The Ting Tings @ the Troubadour, June 13, 2008
Waiting inside the Troubadour, I chatted with a local DJ who informed me that the surefire way to spark a dance floor was through Crystal Castles, MGMT, or The Ting Tings. This wasn’t the first time I heard such ringing endorsement for the Mancurian dance-pop duo. At SXSW, a fellow blotog from London tipped that The Ting Tings were the up and coming band to check out. And even though there were three representatives from LAnjealous at the Austin festival, and The Ting Tings playing about 200 shows in four days, we still managed to miss them (the Jensen RecCenter show conflicted with SXSW as well). Three months, one iPod commercial, and a quickly sold out show later, The Ting Tings return to perform to an anxious crowd, and finally demonstrate if we had made a critical oversight in Texas.
Jules De Martino entered the stage first, sat at his drum kit, and started by playing a guitar on his lap. A few bars later singer Katie White walked on foregoing her trademark baker boy hat but donning eye-concealing bangs. For the rest of the night the audience was split between those who danced and those who were transfixed by the duo. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but right away I sensed there was something unique about the band. The musical compositions are catchy yet simple, the instrumentation rudimentary, and there’s an economy of movement on stage. Jules never comes out from behind the drums and Katie doesn’t mimic any of the cliché frontwoman antics such as writhing on the floor or spitting beer into the air. Before I had a chance to figure what that unique element was, and even further before I realized the irony of my earlier DJ encounter, but not before I decided that “Keep Your Head” was my live favorite, the show was over. Less than forty-five minutes and the pair were off the stage. There were brief moments of respite between some of the songs but otherwise, the show consisted of non-stop beats from Jules and Katie. They may have only one album to date (one that’s doing quite well on the charts in the UK) but surely they could have prolonged the performance with a token cover song? The crowd was left wanting more.