[phlipcam video] The Ting Tings @ the Paradise

The first thing I think when THE TING TINGS take the stage for their sold out show at the Paradise last night is "well, look at this fucking adorable hipster duo. How do they even get any band practice in what with all the mutual soaking up of each other's Aryan-ass good looks? And how are they not doing it?" (They're not, I looked it up. On the Google.) Because I would be, if I was either one of them.

They're not totally terrible to look at, is what I'm saying. Front-nymph Katie White is a tiny, morsel of a thing, flying around the stage, limbs akimbo, in a baseball-style hat pulled low over her platinum blonde hair and shiny bootie shorts that would make anyone else look a freaking walrus. And please don't get me started on drummer/keyboardist/back-up vocalist Jules de Martino, who reminds me of Jonny Lee Miller (hot, Trainspotting Jonny Lee Miller, not current creepy, balding Dexter Jonny Lee Miller).

But enough about these kids and their aesthetic gifts. (They're Brits, so they probably have bad teeth up close, anyway. That's what I'm telling myself.)

The music, as it turns out, is a fucking riot. Guess they've found time for a practice sesh or two after all. It's always interesting to see the considerable upwards gradation in showmanship between the opener and the headliner at a venue like the Paradise. The Ting Tings are poised for promotion to House of Blues-status, while opener MNDR a/k/a Amanda Warner's experimental electro-pop project is still working out some performance bugs. That's not to say she wasn't good. She is. Reminiscent of a less spooky Zola Jesus, Warner has an envious set of pipes on her, and I kind of dug her, uncomfortable dance moves and all.

The moment the Tings took the stage, however, the energy of the room picked ratcheted up from where it had been slouching around at 5 to a solid 9.5. de Martino drums like beast, muscled arms in constant, tensed motion. I didn't even mind that he was wearing his sunglasses at night (usually that's something that would annoy me to an unreasonable degree). He was earning the right to pull that move. Playing largely off their latest album Sounds From Nowheresville, back-dropped by mind-addling, flashing strobe lights, the Ting Tings combine searing electric guitars with insistent looped beats and White's half yowled/half rapped vocals for a live show that sort of demands you get moving. I don't dance in public, ever, without a little help from an illegal substance or half a bottle of tequila, and even I was executing some kind of awkward, head-bobbing two-step. (An apology to those who bore witness to that).


And it wasn't just me. Everyone in the crowd was getting active. And, it bears mentioning, this was a strange crowd. There were an inordinate amount of middle-aged men flying solo, leaning against polls (damn the ‘Dise's vision-obstructing polls, bt dubs) and nursing ‘Gansetts at the bar. Is electro-pop something that middle aged men these days are into? Like, into enough that they pay money to see it, alone, on a Monday night? I don't know, maybe I'm not in touch with 45-year-old dude culture, but I was surprised. Take the unabashedly joyful (I'm talking beaming from wrinkled ear to wrinkled ear, joyful) older fellow pressed right up against the stage who didn't stop jumping up and down (really high! Dude was getting air) from beginning to end and filming the entire show on his flip phone. His flip phone!

Or, the stout aged gentleman reposing by the left-hand side bar, who looked like he might have gotten lost on the way to a Wilfred Brimley look-alike convention. He was having a great time! These dudes were almost cuter than that blonde pair onstage. Almost. What wasn't quite as cute, was the 5-foot-tall chick in front of me in the hipster, spirit animal hood thing, who kept shoving said furry accessory in my face in the throes of her dance ecstasy. (I think she was under the thrall of the aforementioned illegal substance, though, so I'm going to go ahead and grant her a pass.)

The crowd was as receptive to the Ting's new material as they were to those inescapable hits like "That's Not My Name" (a song I actually sort of, really hate -- but was still legit live) and "Shut Up and Let Me Go". (Flip phone man was really vibing to that one).

It seems that the Ting Tings are indeed here to stay. And, if I was apathetic at best regaring opinions about their future whereabouts before last night's show, I'm glad to hear it now. (And, hey, Jules, call me or whatever. If you want. Thx).

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