Who says white people don’t like to dance? Last Monday night (March 16th, 2009) the floor of Terminal 5 was alive with a sea of bodies grooving to the pop sounds of the Ting Tings. In neon green sunglasses, Jules De Martino and Katie White dawning sparkling sky blue eye shadow and patterned art deco leggings, cat walked around the stage like models, playing a 45 minute set that could easily have doubled as a photo shoot. White’s perfected the rocker chick image, strumming her guitar and holding her microphone above her head striking a Statue of Liberty pose, beckoning the poor, the tired, and the hip.
But the Ting Tings were not all image. Playing the entire contents of the first—and only—album, their dance beats were infectious, a mix of Franz Ferdinand’s charging guitars and 80’s new wave electro-pop. White’s high pitched girly squeal combined with simple, lighting guitar riffs and a driving momentum had the crowd jumping. But nothing had the floor shaking more than the band’s singles, the second song of the night “Great DJ” and “Shut Up And Let Me Go,” which ended the first set. With easily repeatable choruses the crowd sung took up the nonsensical call, “And the girls ah ah ah . . . and the boys ah ah ah . . . and the strings e e e . . . and the drums (x4).”
At the end of the first set, the Ting Tings played an extended version of the album’s title track “We Started Nothing,” which featured a short musical reference to Talking Heads “Psycho Killer,” and four rainbow wigged hipsters to fill in as a brass section. The all female rainbow coalition of sound heralded out their parts in sharp blasts, or when not blowing revelry, promptly returned their hands to their hips, posing like an action league ready to fight crime.
The Ting Tings then returned to the stage for a brief two-song encore, closing with, “That’s Not My Name.” The band and crowd alike tired themselves out endlessly repeating , “That’s not my name,” the oddly feminist empowered chorus, and leaving behind no confusion as to what NOT to call the Barbie Doll-esque lead singer.
Opening for the Ting Tings was female rap group Hottub, who played dress-up, jumping around in a sequined pink party dress, hot pink leopard leggings and tribal eye makeup. But don’t be mistaken, these girls were anything but delicate. Like something out of the Riot Grrrl movement the three female MC’s paraded across the stage grabbing their crotches while shouting out songs like “M.A.N.B.I.T.C.H.” and raunchy, confessional lyrics, “I lost my cherry when I was 16.”
However shocking the lyrics, the raps were only mediocre and the beats loud and indistinguishable. Though the music wasn’t something to put on your IPod queue, their stage antics were radical. It was like performance art meets Gymboree, with the girls tackling each other on stage, falling down in heaps and then performing prone, air humping on the floor. Ambr33zy flashed her breasts and Loli Pop her jungle cat underwear, while both spit out mouthfuls of water at each other. In an effort to be closer to the crowd Co-Co Machete stood on an unstable crowd barrier maintaining her balance by alternately holding on to a concertgoers hand and leaning on a bouncer’s head, before jumping over it to dance with the crowd. Hottub’s performance got a mixed reaction (their sound itself just wasn’t that good) but hey kids, if the water’s too hot, get out the tub.