My early, yet confident, prediction for Philly’s best concert of 2015 is between Belle & Sebastian, June 9th, at The Tower Theater, and The Ting Tings, this Friday, April 10th, at Union Transfer. While kings-of-twee Belle & Sebastian are, admittedly, my favorite band of all-time, Katie White and Jules De Martino have a track record of putting on more than half-a-dozen of my favorite performances I’ve experienced in my adult life. The synth-heavy, new-wave-reminiscent, dance-punk English duo first made a splash in 2008, with their debut, We Started Nothing, which included mega-hits “That’s Not My Name” and “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” in addition to “Keep Your Head,” which I maintain is one of the 25 best songs of this century. Since then they’ve hit up an insane plethora of Philly venues (Johnny Brenda’s, The Barbary, The TLA, The Starlight Ballroom, The Trocadero, World Café Live…) and time-after-time prove to be possibly the best live act of their generation. Not only do they continue to display the perfect mastery of the popular spectacle, but they fill their time onstage churning out ineffably danceable and sing-along-able anthems that critique the very notion of pop culture… They’re sort of like a sunny version of Atari Teenage Riot in a lot of ways… Last October The Ting Tings released their third LP, Super Critical. The album was produced by Andy Taylor (formerly of Duran Duran) and conceived of in 2012, when Katie and Jules, lacking in inspiration, took an extended trip to Ibiza. The majority of the album rings of a postmodern take on disco and a commentary on the lameness of the kind of electronic dance music this generation’s club kids seem to prefer (Whose origins I suspect lie in a TV documentary about people who enjoy spending their summers in New Jersey…) Although The Ting Tings’ most recent sounds are slightly less abrasive than those found on their first two records, their cultural commentary is just as poignant and the songs themselves are just as easy to fall in love with.
April 5, 2015