Thursday, April 16, 2009

I went to a Ting Tings concert

The Ting Tings perform at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium on April 15, 2009. Forgive the quality, as the iPhone does not work well under low-light conditions.

A few months ago, I put up a post about my then-current musical tastes and pointed out that the first full album I'd bought in many years was The Ting Tings' "We Started Nothing." (Since then, I've also bought, thanks to sales on Amazon, Lily Allen's "It's Not Me, It's You" and Morrissey's "Years Of Refusal."

Last night, I continued that trend, going to my first concert in about four years by dropping in on The Ting Tings' gig at San Francisco's historic Fillmore. The Fillmore is one of San Francisco's most famous clubs, hosting everyone from Jefferson Airplane to the Grateful Dead to Jimi Hendrix, and while Wednesday's show probably won't go down to be as historic as those by the acts above, it was still a good time.

The Fillmore is general admission, so I got there about 6:30 p.m. (well before the 8 p.m. time on the ticket), ate cold pork chops in line and was able to get into the third row despite stopping for a bathroom break on the way in. A lot of younger kids attended the show, The Ting Tings being realatively harmless, including a couple tweens in front of me. Of course, they came with one's 6-foot-5 father, who was the only person taller than me in the first few rows, and yes, he was right in front of me.

After the opening act (see below), The Ting Tings came out and played a well-executed, intimate show. They started with "We Walk," and followed up with "Great DJ," my favorite song on their debut album. The duo's music and singing were practically flawless. My only complaint was that, as a duo of Jules De Martino and Katie White, they had a lot of music (understandably) pre-recorded. White's vocals and guitar playing were often drowned out by the pre-recorded stuff and there was a good deal more distortion than I'm used to (some may have come from my nearness to the stage).

The sold-out venue responded well as the band made its way through its catalogue. "Shut Up and Let Me Go" (made famous in an iPod commercial) got a big hand, as did the band's encore, its No. 1 UK hit, "That's Not My Name." As the band has been together for less than two years and has only released one album (from which all 10 songs were played), I'm not surprised that the show was done in just less than an hour -- but since tickets were only $21 (pre-"convenience fee"), it wasn't a bad bargain.

The woman on the left will rap on your shoulders if you let her.

The opening act was a hip-hop girl group from Oakland, "HOTTUB." While their music wasn't entirely my cup of tea, they certainly had a stage presence -- which had they kept to the stage, I'd have been fine with it.

You see, I had a pair of earplugs on to preserve my hearing for the main show, meaning while I heard all the music just fine, the spoken word was intermittent. I heard something along the lines of, "Who likes this woman (something, something)?" by one of the band members. In my not-hearing state, I thought it was a general request for a shout-out to the band. I was surprised when I was the only one with his hand up. One of the girls ("Loli Pop?") then said, "Come here Baby" and directed me to the front of the stage. "Please don't make me dance," I said to myself.

She then made me turn around to face the crowd, then climbed aboard my shoulders and began rapping about "M.A.N.B.I.T.C.H.s" or something (real song title, down to the punctuation) while I held her. Now, I'm a big guy, and she was kind of a big girl -- probably about 160 pounds, so my poor legs were supporting about 400 total pounds. By the end of the song, I was really sagging.

Moral of the story: before volunteering for anything, pull out the earplugs and confirm just for what it is you'd be volunteering.

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