Picture Courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan
It was tough trying to explain a Girl Talk concert to my parents. "It's a guy with his laptop, putting songs together. There's toilet paper rolls, and confetti and stuff. Basically, it's just a giant dance party. Trust me, it's not lame- I think."
And thankfully, as expected, the Girl Talk live experience was far from lame. It was an epic, hour-and-a-half masterpiece of mash-ups, beach balls, sweaty hipsters, and soothing rain. The beautiful New York backdrop didn't hurt, either.
A Gregg Gillis performance is something one needs to see to believe and fully understand. But that doesn't mean I can't describe what made this show so great: not quite the music, but more the atmosphere and the crowd. A show like this is dependent on audience participation, interaction, and energy, and we know NYC 20-somethings can be counted on for that. From the opening, speaker-prompted chant of "Girl Talk," the crowd was engaged, pumping their fists when Gillis pumped, clapping their hands when he clapped, and just dancing when he was busy mixing and matching songs together.
Oh, right, that reminds me- the music. It just so happens that Gillis is the best of his kind, able to mix two, three, four songs at once without missing a beat. In fact, his concerts become sort of a "name that tune," with new variations of clips from his brilliant albums, as well as completely new and relevant tracks (with standouts being "Day and Nite," "Single Ladies," "1901," "Best I Ever Had"). And of course, old classic rock songs found their way in as well ("Jump," "Don't Stop Believin'," "Magic"). There was something for everyone- the rap lover, the indie hipster, the mainstream listener, and the classic rocker. This adds to the magic of Girl Talk's show- don't be surprised if you find yourself dancing, chatting, and singing along with complete strangers.
Photo courtesy of Stereogum/Graeme Flegenheimer
As has become a custom of Gregg's' show, the stage was rushed right from the start by crazy, drunk, hysterical college kids. But all of them let Gillis do his thing- he never was pushed to the ground or had a laptop problem due to the wild dancers- in fact, the only music stoppages came from: 1. his backstage pass hitting the space-bar, and then more excitingly, 2. the stage breaking! That's right, the music cut out, Gillis argued with security, took the microphone, and asked Brooklyn if we could all "chill out for just one minute."
Chill out we did, the problem was solved, and the show went on, with gimmicks necessary to keep everyone entertained the entire time: beach balls, balloons, confetti, toilet paper rolls, and more huge, creative blow-up thingies. There was, of course, some stuff being thrown around that didn't come from the stage (a book landed on someone's head, peoples feet landed in my face), but hey, that's part of the atmosphere.
Gillis closed with his personal classic: a mix of "Tiny Dancer" and "Juicy" that you've probably already heard. It's legendary, making B.I.G.'s lyrics mean even more than they already did with the brilliant piano roll behind them. It was the perfect ending to a phenomenal show. But don't take my word for it- catch Gillis live, as soon as you can.
Credit must go to Jelly NYC for putting together an incredible "pool party" without the pool. The setup was fantastic: an awesome stage, dodgeball and basketball, food, and even a refreshing mist booth. If you're a New York City person, make sure to head out next Sunday for Grizzly Bear.