This is a show I never would have gone to last year. Not only because I knew nothing of The Tings Tings before last night but because the music they play is the kind of music I always figured wouldn’t come off well live. Luckily for me I’m on this quest of mine to see 52 show, also luckily for me I won tickets to this one so how could I pass it up? The opener wasn’t fantastic to me (though that might be due to technical difficulties) there were oxygen issues that may have shortened the set, and I’m surprised that no one was injured by a falling mic stand but all in all it was a very good show.
I’m going to go ahead and say this up front. I have a guitar bias. A stringed instrument bias really. When music is completely devoid of any stringed instruments but guitars especially I just don’t find it as engaging. The was my biggest problem with MNDR. Her music, which was electronically composed and played via several laptops connected in a glass box, was all bass and snare drums. There were other bits here and there but for the most part it was just that. Snare, bass bass bass, snare. On and on the entire time. She sang over the beats and her voice was pretty decent but the beats themselves just didn’t seem well produced. She kept imploring the audience to dance but no one did. My friend Catherine, who I went to the show with, said that she thought MNDR’s set would have been better if there had been more of a party crowd. The crowd was there to dance though, as was proven later in the night. MNDR was just playing dance music that didn’t compel much dancing. About halfway through her set the ‘IT guy’ came out and started fiddling with her laptops while she sang. So there were clearly technical difficulties which kind of made me wonder if we got everything she had. She even had a keyboard on stage that she only used once for what literally appeared to be one note. I don’t know. I’m not sure I’d rush out to see her again. Her music is very electronic which is something I’ve never been a huge fan of, and I really feel like what she was presenting to us was dance music you couldn’t dance to. I do sort of feel though like I’m not that qualified to judge music like hers because it’s never been my thing. So what I’m saying is give her a listen and make your own damn decision!
The Ting Tings
It’s kind of amazing the amount of music two people can make with two guitars, a set of drums and some electronic equipment. Well that and the hardest working stage crew I’ve ever seen in my life. The Ting Tings are very good at what they do, and what they do is create rocking dance music that generates an instant party. Sometimes I need to remind myself that this is a good thing, music doesn’t have to be all emotions and poignant words, sometimes music just needs to be an ass shaking dance motivator/party creation device. Luckily I had The Ting Tings to remind me of this last night.
From the moment they took to the stage the created that party, they controlled that party, and they made that party fucking incredible. It seemed like they never stopped moving and their frenetic energy transferred into the music they played, which in turn transferred to crowd. Their energy may have been a bit of a downfall for the length of the set though. All told they played about an hour and a half, which isn’t shabby but they finished around 11:15 and I certainly felt like they could have gone longer. Kate White the singer had to leave the stage on at least two occasions to get oxygen, and tier encore break was so short that some people in the crowd were wondering why there wasn’t an encore after the encore was over. Maybe I’m wrong and they place exactly as long as they planned to but the crowd, myself included, was left wanting more.
Part of the frenetic pace they created came from the singer’s odd destructiveness. She would play her guitar and then as the song ended just drop it on the ground as the guitar tech rushed to keep it from slamming down too hard. She knocked the mic stand over repeatedly, she got the mic cord tangled in a light on the front of the stage and cause it to spin around and point out into the crowd, she knocked over her bass drum causing more lights to go askew and several of their crew to rush the stage and try to correct the issue. It was very strange and also pretty damn funny. It was almost like there was a sketch comedy routine happening just behind the concert.
Going back to my nitpick with MNDR about no guitar I have to say that The Ting Tings had so much guitar. There was guitar all over the place. The drummer even played the guitar and drummed on several occasions. Their guitars drove the music and I absolutely love it. There was a touch of electronica in their music too with the keyboards and some looping but they layered it with an absolutely incredible live performance that really puts everything over the top. To me there is just something about music being played that is so much better than music being produced and someone pressing play. The Tings Tings brought the party with them and if you’re in need of a party you should go and see them because they are more than willing to share it with you.