Truth be told, this review shouldn’t exist; that night, at quite literally the last minute, I misplaced my concert ticket with no idea where it could possibly be. As far as plans go, misplacing your ticket to a sold out concert? A dealbreaker.
However, I’m glad that a great friend of mine offered me his ticket at the last second because I’m happy to report that the recent Girl Talk concert in Seattle was definitely my Best. Club. Experience. OF ALL TIME (sorry couldn’t resist the Kanye). Ok, it was REALLY AWESOME.
Â all photos courtesy of flickr user, joshc. http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshc
After my ticket debacle, I soon arrived at the Showbox Market (in Seattle) around 9:30 pm (with ticket in hand) ready to show my two friends, a male, Middle Eastern software project manager who…ahem…”dabbles” in the nightlife, and a female Vietnamese nurse with a need to inject some excitement to her crummy Monday, a grrrreat time. Already I could feel the energy in the overanxious crowd as we awaited the underground DJ phenomenon, whose 2008 album, Feed the Animals, appeared on Top Ten lists across various magazines such as Rolling Stone and Time.
A former biomedical engineering major from Cleveland, Ohio, Greg Gillis (AKA Girl Talk) has spent the better part of seven years touring the world and patenting his own incendiary brand of mash-ups (songs created by blending vocal tracks of one song seamlessly over the instrumental / precussion track of another song). Think of the possibilities: Nirvana and Salt-N-Pepa? Check. T.I and Twisted Sister? Check. Elton John and Notorious B.I.G? Duh.
However, no amount of musical ad-libbing my imagination conjured could possibly prepare me for approximately 10:07pm when the party started. Girl Talk, clad in an unassuming red hoodie, athletic headband, and a haircut that I can only describe as “homeless chic,” came out to deafening applause and with but a click on his Apple Macbook, hyped the crowd with taunts of “LETS GET CRAZY IN THIS BIYATCH” and “PARTYYYYY!” Now…lemme just preface this by saying, when I mean “party,” I don’t mean “200-300 people dressed in business casual at their favorite nightclub squished together, grinding on each other like helpless worms.” I mean “1100 frenzied, ravenous, dancing, tragically hip Seattleites pulsating and gyrating to the whims of a musical mad genius, their limbs (and in most cases, their drinks) flailing about with reckless abandon.”
It wasn’t long before a small orgy of people were invited up on stage to BOTH do their thing like a chicken wing AND to help man the inflatables, the glowsticks and whatever trinkets were available. I have to admit that unlike other concerts also known for its debaucherous acts of human behavior (Phish, String Cheese Incident, and the Prodigy immediately come to mind), you’ll find that no two people at a Girl Talk concert dance (flail?) at the same rhythm/style/pace/etc. This is evidenced by the multitude of different demographics present; from the hip-hoppers, to emo, punk, aging hipsters, young, old, short, tall, polka-dot, everyone brought their own moves and style. As my female friend can attest, my style of flailing (described as both robotic, obnoxious, and oh ya, L.A.M.E.) wouldn’t be caught dead at any dance venue around town. But lets face it, my friends and I could care less. We were too busy doing god-knows-what with our torsos and limbs to an upbeat mix of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and MC Hammer’s “Too Legit to Quit.” Yeah, you read that right.
One early highlight of the almost ninety-minute set featured a rather rad mash-up of both MGMT and Michael Jackson, during which my male friend quickly lost the upper part of his wardrobe, as if it was holding him back from rocking out. Meanwhile, my female friend, who by trade doesn’t drink, shed the last bits of her inhibition and grabbed a quick mixed drink (AND my glowsticks…grrrr). Any reservation I previously had about them NOT having fun fell by the wayside.
Anyways, at about the forty-five minute mark, the usual “WHATS UP SEATTLE!!” & “IT FEELS GOOD!!!” banter by a now shirtless and drenched Girl Talk gave way to a incendiary mix of Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic” and Fergie’s “Glamorous.” Maybe it was the fact that Daft Punk was playing (I didn’t know for sure), but I thought it a “moral imperative” to push this shindig from a 10…to an 11. With no hesitation, I turned to my female friend and proposed the following: WE’RE FUCKING GETTING ON-STAGE. During our trek to the front, I were continually bracing myself against a steady bombardment of glow sticks, people disrobing to their heart’s content, and of course, toilet paper guns. Toilet. Paper. Guns. Amidst all the confusion, I could vaguely make out a sample featuring U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” No one EVER bumps U2 at a club. NO ONE. Man, I was loving life at that particular point.
Got the visual? Good…Now lemme further blow your minds with some more specific audio mash-up highlights:
Unk’s “Walk it Out” + Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door”
Drama’s “Left Right Left” + Roy Orbison’s “You Got It”
Tom Petty’s “American Girl” + Timbaland’s “Drop”
Eminem’s “Shake That” + Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied”
[For a more detailed break-down of Girl Talk’s list of samples, you can find a complete list at the following Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_the_Animals]
The pace set by the show’s beginning never really let up and by the explosive finale (it featured Chubby Checker’s Shout btw, which really doesn’t need any mash-up assistance to get the party crunk), we were running on fumes. Sure, we were ultimately unsuccessful in getting on stage but it mattered little in hindsight.
If there’s anything that the Girl Talk concert experience DOES lack, it is its refusal to let up. Alas, what you see is what you get: A marathon of wild, uninhibited dancing where the people are as varied and beautifully eccentric as the musical mash-ups themselves. Any other partially competent DJs can just as easily be content with merely pillaging the Billboard Top 50; however, the beauty of Girl Talk’s brand of mash-up is that he is not afraid to draw from across all genres mainstream and indie, as well as time periods past and present for inspiration. Like any good summer blockbuster movie, it had something for everyone.
With the concert now long ended and the toilet paper guns that once populated the stage had exhausted their last roll, I met up with my two friends soon after. My male friend, who throughout the concert was approached by many a female concertgoer for both his number and male mojo, was too tired and emotionally exhausted to focus; yet, he turned and looked at me and gave me a VERY enthusiastic nod and fist-bump that contained all the glee of someone who had recently discovered TivO. As for my female friend? Long story short, she came out looking like she had just endured Hot Yoga. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in my two years of knowing her TRULY let loose more so than during this concert.
And as for me? Well…I’m just glad I got to go in the first place. And for the record, I’ve yet to find my original ticket…