Monday, January 22, 2007

Girl Talk will kill you

Trying to explain the scene at the Middle East for a sold-out Girl Talk concert is pretty much impossible. One of my friends said it was like being in a rap video, and that comes pretty close to describing the kind of chaos, debauchery and dancing that went down.

Before Girl Talk hit the stage, you could catch glimpses of DJ Greg Gillis watching opening act Dan Deacon and even stop by to say hello, which many people did. Gillis, who is very tiny in person, has the demeanor of a normal guy. And that's part of what makes Girl Talk so extraordinary.

The minute Gillis/Girl Talk hit the stage, standing in front of the blue-glow of his laptop, everything started to change. The kind of dance party that burst out at the Middle East is unrivaled by anything I've ever seen in Boston before. The minute the first song began, the crowd rushed the stage and a throng of dance-crazed lunatics surrounded Gillis while he laughed, danced and tried to keep his fingers on the laptop keyboard.

Sweat poured out of everyone and clothing began coming off instantly. T-shirts were tossed into the crowd, girls danced on platforms and arms were thrown up into the air with reckless abandon every time Gillis transitioned into a new song. "Once Again", "Pure Magic", "Bounce That" and "Hold Up" were highlights of the set, but wonders like "Smash Your Head", "Overtime", "Let's Call It Off" and "Scentless Apprentice" were enough to keep you dancing against your will. When the sweet sounds of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" meet the fine lyrics of "Juicy" by rapper Biggie Smalls, you know it is time to get down.

There aren't many times when you would imagine a crowd of 600 people surrounding a man with a laptop. But Gillis makes it work. In recent interviews, the Pittsburgh-native who works as a biomedical engineer by day, claims that he just likes to take the best parts of songs and combine them. Meanwhile, music critics say his latest effort, Night Ripper, is "recontextulizing pop music". But I think Gillis is doing more than that. He's recontextulizing genres and scenes; nobody is too hip, emo, or indie to shake their ass at a balls-out dance party. And that's what Gillis delivers.

After three plus hours of booty-shaking to constant beats, the audience left the Middle East in a blissful, worn-out haze, almost happy that Girl Talk was done, if only so they could finally take a rest. You got the feeling that if Gillis would have kept playing, everyone would have danced themselves to death.

Show: A+

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