The Ting Tings have the dubious honour of being one the most talked-up bands of the moment, occupying a spot in almost every "hot acts for 2008" list going. But enjoying the fawning hype of the NME can be a double-edged sword. For while it means your early gigs will be attended by more than just the bar staff, it also means that those fans who've packed into a small venue based on your MySpace page and a few breathless reviews will be expecting truly great things.
It's to their credit, then, that the double act display anything but trepidation at the prospect of their first London headline show. They have played to larger crowds before, and indeed owe part of their success to a performance at last year's Glastonbury festival, where BBC DJ Steve Lamacq introduced them as "the next big thing", an immediately self-fulfilling prophecy.
Like an inverted White Stripes, the Salford-based duo are drummer Jules De Martino and singer/guitarist Katie White. But while Jack White mixes punk and blues, Katie White's touchstones could be Shampoo and the Spice Girls. Her signature is a shouty, rhythmic, rebel yell. White was once a teen pop star with the girl group TKO (that's "Total Knock Out"), who were managed by herfather and supported the likes of Atomic Kitten and Steps. In that tradition, the Ting Tings' lean arrangements are bolstered by what must be either a backing track or a very skilfully disguised bassist.
De Martino met White when he began writing songs for TKO in 2001, and after an abortive stint with Dear Eskiimo sparked a bidding war as the Ting Tings with their self-released first single, "That's Not My Name", an infectious riposte to all the builders who've ever wolf-whistled at the singer as she walked past.
Tonight's seven-song set is a brief showcase, and much of the audience is made up not of the usual Hoxton hiperati but of the genuinely curious: either pinstriped record executives, or those who have heard the Ting Tings' first single and their thumping, hook-heavy new release "Great DJ", which bookend the show.
Hiding her eyes beneath the brim of a flatcap, White strikes a petulant teen pose, thrashing at her guitar with her mouth hanging open like a young Chrissie Hynde. Her voice is unremarkable, and left exposed by the slow pseudo-soul number "Traffic Light", but you can't fault her energy, nor that of her partner, whose bouncing beats deserve a medal.
The Ting Tings started out playing at their own, now legendary, house parties in Manchester. They remain very much a party band – and what a party. But only time will tell whether their sound has a shelf life.Reuse content