Monday, June 02, 2008

Gotta Be Startin' Somethin'

The Ting Tings/Modernaire, Irish Centre, Birmingham, Tuesday May 20 2008, 8pm.

This is your curious correspondent's first venture into the Irish Centre, and our findings are mostly favourable. It's just about the only large gig venue in Brum where you can buy draught bitter (and a choice between two or three at that) and the bar staff seem reasonable in number and interested in disposition, another welcome change. There's also the novelty of a carpeted floor, but on the downside the bar side of the auditorium finds the view restricted by the speakers on the right side of the stage, meaning we only get to see two-thirds of support act Modernaire, whose lively and noisy brand of electro-rock seems short of memorable melody until set closer 'Bloodshed In The Woodshed'.

Since booking our ticket for this gig, The Ting Tings have only gorn and re-released 2007 Parallax View Single Of The Week 'That's Not My Name' and gone to Numero One in the real life pop charts, meaning a sell-out (officially, anyway...) gig and a triumphant mood in the air. Wasn't sure how their perky pop would fare in the live area but The Ting Tings soon reveal themselves to be natural performers, confidently getting in their stride with 'We Walk', giving 'Great DJ' an early spin and taking a gamble on 'Fruit Machine' giving them three hits in a row. The only halting moments are provided by ballad 'Traffic Light' which seems a bit pedestrian in comparison to the propulsive pop of the rest of the show.

Singer Katie White makes light of the full house and semi-restricted view by prancing for much of the time on the raised end of the stage where everyone has a decent view (why don't more pop stars take the trouble to do this most obvious of moves?). This allows everyone to share in the triumph of Numero Uno 'That's Not My Name', a strop-pop sensation with more hooks than a Peter Pan convention and one of the most completely satisfying tunes of the decade with its steady build of feelgood tropes spiralling into the giddiest of climaxes. Almost impossible to top, although a belting rendition of album title track 'We Started Nothing' has a damn good try, leaving the crowd to head home with a more pleasing than usual ringing in the ears.

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