Wednesday night, Philadelphia’s Johnny Brenda’s was sold out. I’ve been to many a sold out Wednesday night shows myself, but almost never is the place packed for the opening band. This Wednesday, however, there wasn’t just any old opening band — Philadelphia local legends Pattern Is Movement kicked off a lively show opening up for the still green The Ting Tings.
Pattern Is Movement’s brand of avant garde art rock, which is finally garnering the recognition it’s long deserved, defies classification. Going into the evening, there was no reason that a single ticket holder, who more likely than not knows of the Ting Tings through the radio or their iPod commercial, should like Pattern Is Movement — it’s just a different type of crowd. I was surprised and happy to find that the upstairs was already packed out when Pattern Is Movement took the “stage.”
The Ting Tings’ set up was quite large, indeed taking up the entire stage, and their drums are wired, so moving things around wasn’t much of an option. Drummer Chris Ward was offered Jules De Martino‘s (The Ting Tings) drums to play for their set, but Ward declined for fear of harming the set-up. Both Ward and Andrew Thiboldeaux were set up in front of the stage on the floor, creating an extremely intimate set. Perched up on the balcony, I was unable to see Ward pounding away on his kit but moved in time with his beat under Thiboldeaux’s operatic vocals and smooth keys. The house love Pattern Is Movement and were desperate for more as the duo broke down their equipment making way for the night’s headliners.
Admittedly, I was a bit surprised as The Ting Tings started out their set with some slow beats, but it was all in the name of anticipation as Katie White and De Martino quickly launched into their poppy Brit dance jams that have come to signify their quickly budding career. White displayed an infectious energy, jumping and dancing around the stage as she sang, sometimes screeching lyrics with zeal.
With their debut album We Started Nothing released just over a month ago in the United States, it wasn’t a challenge for the Ting Tings to play their entire catalog. They breezed through hits “Great DJ,” “That’s Not My Name” and “Shut Up And Let Me Go” with ferocity, engaging the audience in every single note and beat. The audience was delighted to dance along and I would not be the least bit surprised if “Great DJ” was still stuck in everyone’s head today — it’s been cemented in my mind since Wednesday night (“the drums! the drums! the drums! the drums!”)
The duo balanced a mostly feverish set with “our one slow song,” according to White, titled “Traffic Light.” The crowd was hushed during the Ting Tings’ rendition of the typical ballad that every band seems to [unfortunately] write for good measure. The tune, just under 3 minutes, was merely a quick breather before the dance party was to continue.
After a boisterous set, De Martino and White descended the stage to cacophonous cheers and clapping, the kind reserved for an encore. The pair returned to the stage and played the only song left to play, the album’s title track “We Started Nothing.” A short encore, but well-received nonetheless.
The Ting Tings are touring pretty relentlessly (dates below), though they head overseas quite soon. Tonight they play Club Hell in Providence before rounding out their US tour in Los Angeles early next month. Be sure to catch a show near you and, if you’ve not already, pick up a copy of the Ting Tings’ debut album We Started Nothing. Next time around, they’ll most likely be playing stadiums.
Jul 25 – Club Hell / Providence, RI
Jul 26 – Valentines / Albany, NY
Jul 27 – McCarren Park Pool / Brooklyn
Jul 31 – The Blue Bird / St. Louis
Aug 02 – Lollapalooza / Chicago
Aug 04 – Varsity / Minneapolis
Aug 06 – El Rey Theatre / Los Angeles (SOLD OUT!)
Aug 09 – SummerSonic Festival / Tokyo
Aug 10 – SummerSonic Festival / Osaka
Aug 14 – Pukkelpop Festival / Belgium
Aug 15 – Lowlands Festival / Netherlands
Aug 16 – Le Route du Rock / France
Aug 17 – Dockville Festival / Hamburg
Aug 23 – Reading Festival / Reading
Aug 24 – Leeds Festival / Leeds
Sep 20 – Carling Academy / Liverpool
Sep 21 – Barrowlands / Glasgow
Sep 23 – Carling Academy / Newcastle
Sep 24 – Rock City / Nottingham
Sep 25 – Guildhall / Southampton
Sep 26 – Carling Academy / Sheffield
Sep 28 – UEA / Norwich
Sep 29 – Engine Shed / Lincoln
Sep 30 – University / Leicester
Oct 02 – Academy / Manchester
Oct 03 – Academy / Manchester
Oct 04 – Carling Academy / Birmingham
Oct 05 – University Great Hall / Cardiff
Oct 07 – Carling Academy / Bristol
Oct 08 – Shepherds Bush Empire / London
Oct 09 – Forum / London
Oct 10 – Forum / London
Photos: Jessica McGinley, PopWreckoning.com