The Ting Tings, KANEHOLLER Fitzgerald's April 21, 2015
Imagine a home video featuring a toddler in a confined space stomping around making all kinds of racket using everything within reach, and you have an image of how Katie White performs as one-half of the Ting Tings. Tuesday night at Fitzgerald's, her demands to the audience were simple: "Just dance with us, Houston!"
"Electro-pop" seems to be a trendy catch-all label these days, but the Ting Tings do not necessarily fit into that category, at least not in their live performances. While the studio versions of their material have that bubblegum vibe, their concerts are a loud, gritty punch in the face. Think of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing the dance remixes of their heavier punk tracks, and you have the show we got Tuesday night.
Both White and her partner, Jules De Martino, switched instruments often, going from drums to guitar to MIDI controllers to cowbell back to guitar and drums only to trade out for something else on the following tune. A kickdrum was set up high on a stand at the back of the stage; when White reached it, she began smacking it to create more noise in time with her partner on the kit until she laughingly knocked it over.
At one point, White simply yelled "Cowbell!" as she slammed her drumstick into the percussion instrument and worked the stage, stutter-stepping to De Martino's beat. After one song she said, "I remember playing here the last time we were in Houston. It was hot, but you guys were great!"
The crowd was great this go-round as well. They danced, sang and were respectful to one another and the band by not talking over the set.
Also onstage with the Ting Tings was the Ibiza-based DJ known as Boix, who did some old-school scratching in and out of a few songs towards the end of the set, including hip-hop classics "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock and Dr. Dre's "Tha Next Episode." For the song "Hands," all three band members manned DJ mixing boards, and the Ibiza-influenced wavy bass was so loud it almost drowned out the vocals.
After The Ting Tings thanked everyone and shuffled offstage, the crowd yelled for more as the crew stepped out to break down gear, the lights came on and Sylvan Esso's "Coffee" played over the PA. People yelled for them for two songs until the duo finally emerged from backstage and came over to the merch booth, where they mingled with fans who had patiently waited in line to take photographs and get autographs. Talking to fans after the show, Boix stated he was thrilled by the Houston crowd and described them as "badass" and hands down the best of the tour. That's impressive, considering where the Ting Tings have been and the fact that they have only two dates left.
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So, How Were the Openers? KANEHOLLER is an electro pop duo -- there's that label again -- consisting of Chelsea Tyler and Jon Foster. The engaged couple both come from celebrity stock, but would be able to stand on their own regardless of their bloodlines. At first I was skeptical that they would be able to get the crowd pumped for the headliners because of their songs' soulful, seemingly soft and slow melodic vibe, but the duo absolutely raged.
Standouts from the set included "Killer" and "Undertow," which hit the crowd with some surprisingly very heavy bass beats. KANEHOLLER closed their set with a song whose chorus is "You ain't seen nothing yet." Here's to hoping that is a true statement and they make a return visit soon.
The Crowd: Initially on the thin side but eventually filled the floor; the balcony was closed. Maybe it was because of the Rockets playoff game, but there didn't seem to be many people at the bars surrounding the venue either.
Overheard In the Crowd: After KANEHOLLER performed, a new fan was informed that the vocalist was Steven Tyler's daughter: "What!? Aerosmith is one of my favorite bands. No shit! She looks just like him!"
SET LIST Do It Again Shut Up and Let Me Go Hang It Up Great DJ Communication Give It Back Fruit Machine Only Love That's Not My Name Wrong Club Green Poison Hands Super Critical
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