TVD Live: The Ting Tings and MNDR at
the 9:30 Club, 4/12

My favorite part of attending mid-week concerts is feeling like I’m taking a break from my real life. Some nights, that moment of escape is more prominent than others, and this past Thursday at the 9:30 Club definitely fulfilled that idea.

The Ting Tings and MNDR gave their audience plenty of reasons to feel like going to work a little tired the next morning was well worth it.

The sold-out crowd seemed intrigued by the opening act, MNDR (Amanda Warner). Even though she has been making music for over three years, the audience for The Ting Tings did not appear to be familiar with her work at first. However, her energy was contagious and her outfit was creative so she grabbed our attention. I don’t usually comment on the clothes that artists wear, but Amanda Warner of MNDR and Katie White of The Ting Tings each showed some edginess and confidence that many artists could never hope to pull off.

By the end of her set, MNDR had played the keyboard, sang standing at the mic, sang while moving across the stage, and perched herself on the speaker next to the stage. For an opening act with which I wasn’t all that familiar, she held my attention and made me smile. I got the impression that many in the crowd felt the same way, and that made me think “well, that’s exactly what an opening act is supposed to do.”

Ms. Warner’s sound reminds me of La Roux, in that both are artists who seem to be able to do it all on stage as well as produce music that does not neatly fit into a single genre category. In addition, I can easily imagine “#1 in Heaven” becoming a cross-over pop hit like “Bulletproof.” MNDR has released a few singles and EPs, but her first full-length album is expected to be released in July.

When MNDR played “#1 in Heaven” at the end of her set, it was quite a different feel than when she played “I Go Away” at the beginning. While “#1 in Heaven” is pure dance-pop fun, “I Go Away” had more emotion behind the lyrics and a slower, softer sound. She started the show slowly and ended on a high note, while enjoying her time on stage. I hope that this tour exposes MNDR to a new set of fans because I can’t help but want her to be successful. I’m confident that DC has not seen the last of MNDR.

I will admit that I’ve been a fan of The Ting Tings for years, but I had absolutely no idea what to expect from them at a live show. Because of the electro-dance feel of We Started Nothing, I was intrigued by the more rock/hip-hop influence on Sounds From Nowheresville. The differences between these two albums left me curious as to whether the show would feel smooth or disjointed.

My curiosity was quickly blown away by the fact that they did not seem to stop playing at all. One song flowed easily into another, and I found myself dancing more to the newer songs than the older. I was also intrigued by the look of the stage and the interplay between the sound and the lighting. The backdrop of the stage was bright white, and the lights seemed to change and flicker in pace with the tone of the song.

Katie White and Jules de Martino present a unique sound with an even more unique stage presence. My favorite song to hear live was “Give it Back” from the Sounds from Nowheresville album. I had not focused at all on Mr. de Martino’s voice when simply listening to the music, so hearing a song live where his vocals are featured was a treat.

However, I would be remiss not to mention “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and “That’s Not My Name.” I guarantee that I was not the only girl in the audience who at one point or another has included “Shut Up and Let Me Go” on a post-breakup playlist, and hearing that type of song played live with such energy emanating from both the stage and the crowd was simply fabulous.

As for “That’s Not My Name,” no one was surprised it was the final song. I admire bands like The Ting Tings who have that song that everyone knows, yet never gets old.

Between MNDR and The Ting Tings, I danced enough to feel like I could justify skipping my trip to the gym the next day. Like I said before, that feeling of a mid-week break from reality definitely applied to this show. The work hard/play hard mentality that is pervasive among young professionals in DC was certainly present at the 9:30 Club on April 12th, and I hope that the bands could sense that enough to want to come back again soon.

Photos by Alison Tremblay

MNDR

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