Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting Offended: The Ting Tings, Santogold, Shout Out Louds, and She & Him

An afternoon at Stubb’s quickly turned into an evening at Stubb’s – the first part of it anyway, as we scurried to catch the end of the UK duo The Ting Tings. We were running a bit late, as I’d been caught up having coffee with a friend of the family who recommended I check out The Heavenly States (from Oakland) and a band called Autovaughn. I told him I’d make a note of it.

Hearing just the last couple of songs from The Ting Tings, it seemed that they’d be best served by picking a sound and style and sticking with it. And, if I might suggest one – the high-powered rapped-over electrorock they cranked out at the end on “That’s Not My Name.”

The Tings were quickly followed up by Brooklyn diva and would-be MIA successor Santogold who was flanked on either side by white sunglassed dancers in black and white parachute-style pants. Backed by Diplo who was running the mix, Santogold was undoubtedly the happiest person in the venue and her incessant smile let you know it. Though when she easily belted out “L.E.S. Artists” everybody was happy to smile.

We were in the mood to dance and a quick glance at our watches let us know that we had just enough time to ask ourselves Does It Offend You, Yeah? In the half-lit back part of Emo’s heads bobbed and booties shook when the British rockers proclaimed “We Are Rockstars.” They were rockstars and we were anything but offended.

To change things up, we powerwalked to the Parish on 6th Street for Swedish smoothies the Shout Out Louds, who delighted with stellar versions of “Impossible” and “The Comeback.” It was the plan to be at the venue early to make sure we got good spots for one of the fest’s hottest tickets – the Zooey Deschanel / M. Ward project, She & Him.

When a doe-eyed starlet joins forces with an indie darling, tongues tend to wag, and we were glad to have our curiosity justly satisfied by seeing the duo up close. With folk/country sensibilities and simple songwriting, the collaborators seemed to pull it off – with some assistance from sometimes Bright Eyes bassist Stefanie Drootin. Note to Hollywood: Have a part that requires an actress to sing? Cast Zooey. Nothing could have saved “Spiderman 3” – but Dechanel’s singing far surpasses the likes of Kirsten Dunst.

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