Yes, The Ting Tings did produce only one album before taking a four year break. True, their final single from that first album stopped appearing regularly on radio playlists over two years ago. That said, you would never have known that from the packed house at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 2012 when The Ting Tings performed.
Halfway through the show, Katie White (lead vocals, guitar, bass) and Jules De Martino (drums) launched into their 2008 single “Shut Up and Let Me Go.” Without even the slightest cue from White, the crowd erupted. They sung along with the “Shut up and let me go, HEY!” refrain before backing down, letting White continue on her own.
And that she did. White repeatedly pushed over her mic stand as she strutted and bounced back and forth on stage, jumping up onto the drum platform and leaping off of it to the other side of the stage. During their song “Fruit Machine,” she even rolled the bass drum off of its pedestal behind them. She banged the drum while it sat on the stage before she climbed on top of it to dance.
There is no question that The Ting Tings know how to do a good show. Throughout the night White was engaging and charismatic, making several jokes in between songs about their break between albums. Every song had a different lighting arrangement and a different combination of sounds. The Ting Tings performed many songs from their newest album, Sounds From Nowheresville, including “Hit Me Down Sonny,” “Give It Back,” and their latest single “Hang it Up.” These new songs were in addition to most of their first album, We Started Nothing.
Bands with only two members, like The Ting Tings or The Black Keys, are often more than a little impressive in that they can produce a wide variety of sounds with limited personnel. Throughout the show, I watched in awe as De Martino sat at his drum set and alternately played chords on his guitar and banged the drums while White danced, sang and played her own guitar. White occasionally tapped pedals and pushed buttons on sound machines.
Seeing them perform live was even worth sitting through the opening act, MNDR, which felt a little like watching a woman battle with a sound machine. Unfortunately, with its flashing lasers and over-produced sound, it’s fair to say the sound machine defeated the vocalist.
The Ting Tings released their debut album, We Started Nothing, in May 2008. Several songs were released as singles from the album, including “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and “That’s Not my Name.” Their second album, Sounds From Nowheresville is available now. Watch the video for their first single, “Hang it Up.”