The Ting Tings – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto – April 6, 2012

By Anthony Marcusa
Photos by Walid Lodin

The Tings Tings may not be complicated, but they certainly are complex. Jules de Martino and Katie White make up the exceedingly talented English duo, each of whom contribute to vocals, play guitar, and add a variety of other instruments and talents to create a seamless and entertaining show.

Crouching on stage on front of a crowded house at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, one that contained a spattering of British accents, White slowly and softly began the evening with ‘Silence.’ Clad in a mod hat, striped tee, and short shorts, she tempted the audience before erupting in an orgy of loud noise, wild red and blue lights, and crazed fans.
“We want you all to dance,” she declared, and much of the audience responded, especially for old favourites such as ‘Great DJ,’ and ‘We Walk,’ from We Started Nothing. Their debut album has quite a different sound than their latest, Sounds from Nowheresville, one that is more infused with funk and hip house, though still possessive of their infectious, electronic-dance style from their first album.

The diversity showcased on their recorded work is evident on stage. De Martino plays guitar while sitting at the drum kit, putting it aside in a moment before picking up the sticks. He keeps the beat while White sings and dances on a podium next to him, taking a break from playing guitar herself. She plays the keyboard; he sings; she bangs the bass drum—sometimes precariously (she knocked it off the stand during a later number)—and he keeps the drum machine going.

Two of the more prominent songs from their latest album, ‘Guggenheim,’ and ‘Hit Me Down Sonny,’ and were most memorable, performed back to back, the latter featuring the line: “Did you ever think you’d see me like this?” That phrase led into an intense jam session and was sung over and over by White, as she welcomed on stage the very talented and lovely Amanda Warner of MNDR, the night’s opener.

One of the two best moments of the evening was ‘Shut Up and Let Me Go.’ De Martino, wearing shades the entire show, began the most recognizable drum beat, and the entire audience erupted, anticipating the hit song. The showman musician, however, played increasingly slower and softer, until nearly disappearing amid a quieted crowd. In what seemed like minutes but was really a second, he picked up the pace and the song began anew with White singing her famous lines.

‘Hands’ followed hypnotically, both in sight and sound, and the track ended their main set before returning eagerly for an encore.

The second of the two best moments followed the same vein of the first, with an equally if not more stirring song, ‘That’s Not My Name.’ The second of their two songs of the encore and thus last of the night, the audience was once again teased and tempted with the drum beat, before White and De Martino exploded once more on stage. The crowd sang along—delightfully, surprisingly—and The Ting Tings memorable performance ended with a pointed bang.