Live Last Night: The Ting Tings

With just two members and only two great songs, the Ting Tings might seem under-equipped to handle a sold-out 9:30 club audience. But the British duo did just fine Friday night, holding the crowd's attention -- and affection -- during a barely-45-minute set. Singer-guitarist Katie White and drummer-programmer Jules De Martino could have gone longer, but were wise not to do so.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

The Ting Tings' style is bubblegum-punk with a dash of techno, a twist of hip-hop and a splash of feminism. The set's nine songs were constructed primarily from beats and voices, as White's rhythm guitar provided merely a sort of sonic fog. The non-vocal melodic hooks were elementary keyboard riffs, usually pre-programmed and triggered by De Martino. Some of the songs, notably "Impacilla Carpisung,'' chattered a little longer than was strictly necessary, revealing the duo's affinity for rave.

The formula was so simple that every deviation, such as White's assault on an illuminated bass drum during "Shut Up and Let Me Go,'' was impressively dramatic.

Bouncing around the stage, and sometimes onto an empty platform that matched De Martino's drum riser, White combined preschool energy with adolescent attitude. The group closed with its biggest hit, "That's Not My Name,'' White's response to the British music biz's attempt to stereotype her as an interchangeable blonde sexpot.

As the fans picked up the refrain, that meaning was lost, but it was replaced with a communal rapport that was just as powerful a rebuke to the executives who thought White couldn't make it on her own terms.


By J. Freedom du Lac |  March 22, 2009; 11:01 PM ET Live Last Night
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