Girl Talk gets Showcase dancing

A review of Girl Talk at Showcase Live! on November 14

, Staff Writer

It’s a little tricky to review a DJ set, but, as his t-shirts proudly proclaim, Girl Talk is "not a DJ". The hyperactive mashup wizard came to Showcase Live this past Friday and used his laptop to reduce the spectrum of pop music to its most addictive bite size pieces, then reconfigured them into some of the best dance floor anthems you can imagine.

If you haven’t heard Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, think traditional mashups with ADHD on speed. The night was a non-stop party, which Gillis onstage at his workstation surrounded by a hundred or so fans with several hundred more watching from the dance floor. There were lights, nonsensical computer graphics, beach balls, confetti, toilet paper guns, and giant inflatable plastic bags that all served to enhance the atmosphere.

Then there was the music, which included hundreds of exciting moments, interesting juxtapositions of samples, and star power galore. There was Lil Wayne’s "A Milli" over Weezer’s "Say It Ain’t So", the strings from "Paper Planes" plus the beat from "Grindin’" plus the verses from "Can I Get A…". It seemed that each time a sample dropped the crowd would respond with cheers and invigorated dancing as Gillis mined current hits and classic favorites.

The point of the night was not what was being played, though, it was the effect that those songs would have on the crowd. Gillis never stuck with anything too long, like a kid playing with new toys on Christmas morning. One second was "Swagger Like Us", "Jockin’ Jay-Z", and "Blitzkrieg Bop", the next was "I Wan’t You Back" and "Gimme My Money", all specifically designed to get the club moving. This would have been one of the best shows that the Avalon (RIP) had ever seen, though Showcase Live did admirably well for a venue outside of Boston.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the night is that with the recent successes of Girl Talk’s albums Night Ripper and Feed the Animals, the crowd was already familiar with many of his stock samples and transitions. The combo of Elton John’s "Tiny Dancer" and Biggie’s "Juicy" garnered huge cheers as the audience showed their appreciation of Girl Talk’s songs. Gillis then pushed his pop subversion one step farther by chopping up his own songs, bouncing back and forth between fragments of Ripper and Animals.

It would be fruitless, as well as impossible, to describe the hundreds of transitions and combinations created over the course of the night, but there were several songs that got extra loud ovations from the crowd, including "Since You’ve Been Gone", "Thriller", "Whoomp (There It Is)", "Jesse’s Girl", "New Soul", and "Thunderstruck".

By the time Journey’s "Faithfully" from Gillis’ "Play Your Part (Pt 2)" came on to close the night the crowd was swaying and chanting along. Gillis jumped on top of the workstation to lead the crowd in the celebration of pop’s beautiful moments, not to be celebrated himself as the night’s master of ceremonies. As he left the stage the venue stayed open but the crowd slowly filed out. After the head rush of Girl Talk, nobody could go back to dancing to mere club music.

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