The Ting Tings; Islington Mill, Salford, Friday October 19
Paint hurling, pop hooks and a set from the bar staff. Now that’s how to launch a single
The Ting Tings know how to mix arty and party. Tonight, in their run-down studio alongside a load of beatnik types, they’re hosting the coolest single launch party ever. At the front, they’ve erected an art wall on which attendees can design 100 seven-inch sleeves to ‘Fruit Machine’ (an NME Track Of The Week) with paint tubes and marker pens, to be sold at their gig in Berlin. And at the back, the support band — three hot-pant-sporting female bar staff — have stopped serving to play a slot of shouty punk-pop from behind the bar.
Interesting stuff, then, but as soon as Katie White and Jules De Martino stride on to the paint-strewn stage and gear up their chest-thumping sex pop, all that stuff dissolves behind us, and we get to see the most exciting new band in the country just rip it up. Jules plays side-on behind a pair of Tom Cruise shades, boshing his chrome kit like an iron-armed Arnie; Katie flails, swings and cries immaculate yelps – a Karen O deep-fried in peroxide. The ink on their major label contract is about as dry as the slogans painted on their sleeve wall 10 minutes ago, but tonight The Ting Tings are as fully-formed as the biggest T-Rex in the jungle, playing with surgery sharpness, and art-attack energy. Prince-rubbed stormer ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’, with its shuddering bass and ear-curling chorus, is what the two funkiest people in the world would listen to while rutting — Katie keeping time on an enormous bass drum using a fluffy drumstick the size of a cow’s leg. ‘Keep Your Head’ fizzes with pinball-machine pings and whirs, underpinned by a pixellated drum beat and Katie’s hypno-chant, while during the anthemic ‘That’s Not My Name’ she mounts an amp and snarls the chorus while everyone jerk-dances like they’ve got fish-hooks in their limbs. Before dropping their gear and rushing up to their rooms to party they play just five songs – each three minutes of mainlined pop justification for any hyperventilated praise hurled at them so far. They rule. Write that on your art wall.