The Ting Tings: Lollapalooza

By • Aug 6th, 2008 • Category: Concert Reviews
Photo courtesy of Randy Cremean / Soundcheck Magzine

Photo courtesy of Randy Cremean / Soundcheck Magzine

When a local radio personality walked onto Lollapalooza’s AT&T stage Saturday to introduce The Ting Tings, the responding cheers weren’t from a crowd that loved the British duo’s danceable rock ‘n’ roll. Instead, the roar was from a couple thousand people hoping to enjoy the much buzzed-about 12:45 p.m. gig … and it was from a crowd that certainly soon would.

There was a degree of “have you seen them?” anticipation during the afternoon set. The Manchester duo was one of the most talked-about acts at this year’s South By Southwest festival. Almost five months’ worth of press since that breakout festival had built a groundswell of expectations. Normally, having to wait months for validation would be a bit unnecessary in the instant age of iTunes and YouTube, but the bulk of those glowing reviews made notable distinctions between the group’s quaint pop record, We Started Nothing, and the riotous live performances.

Every year at SXSW, bands arrive with a trailer full of promises but deliver on only a half-empty guitar case’s worth. By the first week of August, a band’s shimmer from that spring fest either has worn off or conversely been polished to a blinding shine. There was a sense among the crowd that this Lollapalooza set was going to determine which way The Ting Tings’ hype was going to go.

But it only took drummer Jules De Martino kicking out the booming beat of opener “We Walk” while simultaneously strumming a guitar to blast away any remaining dusty uncertainty about pair. And before vocalist Katie White could step out from behind the keys and strap a guitar low on her hip for the second song, “Great DJ,” the cheers switched to those from a crowd that now was utterly sold on the band.

With her red guitar matching both De Martino’s bright sunglasses and her own tights, while her lime green skirt complimented her nail polish, the blonde-haired White struck rock star pose after powerful pose straight from Carrie Brownstein or Chrissie Hynde’s book of ass-kicking front woman etiquette. Whether it was the chomping “Be the One” or sassy “That’s Not My Name,” White and De Martino pummeled through an eight-song set with maturely seasoned chops well beyond the 2-year-old band’s age might suggest.

So when White stepped back during the closer, “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” to pound a marching band’s bass drum in between shouts of “I ain’t freakin’/ I ain’t fakin’ this” the crowd believed her every word. Yet during the same song when she repeatedly pleaded, “Shut up and let me go, Hey!” the enthralled masses seemed a bit torn to hang on her ever move, acknowledging that the duo had only a few moments left.

At least, at Lollapalooza this year. But they’ll be back. The afternoon performance verified that.

Soundcheck Magazine, August 2008

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