Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Ting Tings + Operator Please @ KOKO, London

29 February 2008

It’s a Friday night in Camden Town as KOKO fills up for a night of unadulterated pop in the form of Aussie punk-poppets Operator Please and hyped indie-dance duo The Ting Tings.

Australia’s finest kick off with a blistering bundle of energy perfectly packaged into their half-an-hour slot.

Leave it Alone is a definite highlight. Violinist Taylor Henderson plays with ferocity, helping to make Operator Please’s sound so distinctive. Little Timmy on the drums bangs away at rapid speed.

Lead singer Amandah Wilkinson is the perfect front woman as she screams through the bouncing set, culminating in a vigorous finale of extremely catchy – and maybe just a little annoying – It’s Just A Song About Ping Pong.

Next up is Salford two-piece The Ting Tings. This pair have been on every hot list going and tipped for huge things in 2008. Can they come up with the goods live?

The stage is simple but that seems to characterise the nature of the duo’s set. Singer Katie White and Jules de Martino, on his drums, are dwarfed by empty space. There are no other instruments. The instrumental famine provides a stark contrast to Operator Please’s instrumental feast. Inevitably, with their reliance on a backing track, they pale in comparison. While Katie really uses the space that is freed from the lack of instruments, strutting over every inch of the stage as she tries hard to seduce the drunken crowd, it still doesn’t quite cut it.

The crowd seem consensual – as compared to the full attention that Operator Please commanded, many seem more interested in the bar. Even Kate’s seductive parade through their limited repertoire in the short set is not enough to maintain attention, though there are some highlights in the form of the infectious Great DJ and That’s Not My Name. The half of the crowd that are actually paying attention to these sing along; there is no denying their talent for writing extremely catchy pop. But that seems to be it. There are pungent whiffs of similarity to those one-hit pop-dance atrocities Orson and Bodyrockers.

They seem to be tilting towards the dance-pop genre, and while undeniably have the capability to tick the box for writing decent pop in typical style for this genre, they unfortunately don’t yet live up to the hype that surrounds them.

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More on The Ting Tings
The Ting Tings – Sounds From Nowheresville
The Ting Tings @ Astoria, London
The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
The Ting Tings + Operator Please @ KOKO, London