The Ting Tings - Manchester Academy

"Where the f*** are we ?" It's probably not going to come up at any gigs outside of Manchester, which is where we most f***ing definitely are of course, but Jules de Martino's question carries resonance tonight. Two thousand Mancunians, as if he didn't know, provide indesputable confirmation of location. Back at the Academy for the first of two sell-out shows, The Ting Tings come home in all-conquering mode. Number one single ? Check. Number one album ? Check. Just about every summer festival crowd well and truly won over ? Check, check, check. The Ting Tings are a lovely and lovable splash of riotous colour in the grey cloud-lined humdrum of 2008. That they've managed to build upon what might well have been nothing more than a novelty hit in lesser hands deserves our love, no less. Watching them gradually blossom throughout the year confirms that those of us who were initially wary of the hype (including a push from the notoriously sychophantic local rag, whose previous offences include Kinesis and The Courteeners) should have just joined the party from the off. Once again, fashionably late will have to do.

Tonight's gig makes good on their recent promise to ensure a ten song repertoire doesn't necessarily lead to a perfunctory live show. In fact, what stands out tonight is how they've contrived an act of real character from nothing more than a good old-fashioned sense of showmanship and a very old-fashioned injection of unrestrained, joyous abandon. From the unexpected entrance (where Jules walks out alone, sits down at a single bass drum, eyes up the crowd impassively and starts to riff away at an electric guitar, building opener 'We Walk' before Katie eventually appears) to the sensational delivery of country-tinged ballad 'Traffic Light' (unexpectedly on-the-button harmonies, old hand crowd management), The Ting Tings prove to be absolute naturals in the art of live performance. Katie, sadly minus hat tonight, radiates glee - the clapping-with-mike-in-hand thing, the foot-stamping-rain-dance thing, the thousand-yard-stare/lost-in-performance thing. The tics of a properly proper pop star charm and captivate. 'Shut Up and Let Me Go', with Katie on big bass drum and cow bell, and 'Be the One' get the floor bouncing. 'We Started Nothing' is played out beautifully, ruffled rifferama. Inevitably left until the end, 'That's Not my Name' is ubiquitous but universal. The house lights go up and the place is full of very shiny, very happy people. With more understanding of what constitutes smart indie pop than most, The Ting Tings are considerably more than the sum of their boho, thrift shop, lo-fi parts. On charm alone they could take over the world. As a live act, they entertain and thrill. Sniff at that at your peril, I say.

Last updated: 18/04/2018 21:57:59

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