I saw The Ting Things back in May just when they were breaking with their first major hit – That’s Not My Name – it was a small gig at the QM, I hadn’t heard their CD at that point so didn’t know many of the tracks but they were an outstanding live act and even on the small scale they had a great performing style, lighting and visuals. I was a little nervous about seeing them again in case they didn’t come up to expectations and really wasn’t feeling like going to a mid-week gig but I’m glad I did.
The Ting Tings seem to have been constantly touring for the past couple of years and as there were no new tracks tonight I’m assuming they have been tweaking the same tracks live all this time. The Ting Tings are a live band! The CD is great, the videos are fun but they have to be seen live to be appreciated. With only two people on stage (more or less) it takes a lot of energy to produce that multi-layered sound.
Music: The sound, look, performance, style, etc. of The Ting Tings brings to mind post-punk, new-wave, early new-romantic sound of the early 80s for me. I like their use of electronic keyboard sounds and drum machine, mixed with fantastic live drumming, sampling, guitar and now even a small 4 part brass section which joined them on a couple of occasions.
Performance: Energetic, sums up the Ting Tings performance style, but it has certainly become more rounded, professional and technical. Because of the multiple instruments Katie and Jules play you see the technicians on stage quite a lot doing change overs, putting things in place and frequently picking up things that particularly Katie has managed to knock over. The brass section was a nice little addition to a couple of songs with two of them joining a little keyboard section of another song and even doing some live camera work in the finale.
Visuals: 8 months ago I liked that The Ting Tings were using interesting, simple, basic, visuals that seemed very accessible and added a lot to the show at that scale. This visuals are now much more professional and complex. The rear of the stage was a screen with multiple projectors (I never could really make out how many) and three screens above and in front of the stage. From my viewpoint this was one block of visuals and worked fantastically together.
Sometimes the visuals were live, but never simply magnification to show the crowd a close up of the band – if the visuals were live it was small cameras in among the drum kit or on Katie’s feet dancing or with heavy effect filters or on the crowd along the front of the stage. Other visuals were abstract and frequently bore no direct relation to the song – always really really good!!!
Venue: This is the third time I’ve been to The Academy, but the first time in the Balcony. I didn’t actually know there was a balcony and generally I don’t like seated gigs, but this was fine. We ended up right at the back but still had a good view, didn’t have people pushing and shoving all the way through the gig. Perhaps this is a sign that I’m too old for standing gigs?