Girl Talk Creates Beats and a Buzz at Harwood Halloween

I am sure that all of you have mixed feelings about the Girl Talk concert last Saturday. Everyone seemed to be complaining about the pushing and shoving, being trampled and squashed. Excuse me, you went to a concert in a parking lot full of drunk college kids—why would you not expect such rowdiness to be on the menu? As for me, yes, it was painful, because, overly enthusiastic as I was, I went early and pushed myself right up to the front and was slammed into the tables, pushed back by security guards, and found myself right up in the middle of girls fainting, people crawling up on the stage, and aggressive hurly-burly boys creating total chaos. Many were disappointed because after they had endured all that squabbling and struggling, Girl Talk’s actual performance was cut short. Twice.At the beginning of the concert, the stage was the epitome of craziness. There were screaming people dressed in their Halloween costumes, practically in Girl Talk’s face, surrounding him and inhibiting him from jumping all around his turntables, so that the guy could barely move. There were people tripping on wires and pulling various chords out of their sockets and girls desperately trying to grind with all the guards, hoping this would get them up on the already-jam-packed stage. Due to the insanity, Girl Talk had to stop playing while the authorities, including Campus Security, the hired guards, Pomona R.A.’s and deans, and even crazy CMC boys who pretended they were in charge of controlling the crowds, tried to manage the wild audience.Despite all the drama, for the short amount of time that Girl Talk did play, he was amazing. He didn’t do his prerecorded songs but seemed to be mixing on the spot. He was incredibly energetic and once he had enough room, he was bouncing around, on- and off-stage, up on the table, jumping, running, and moving nonstop, taking off layer after layer until he was shirtless, dripping with sweat from head to toe. That’s when you know you’re rocking it out. He was completely crazy and everything I expected him to be. Whether up on the stage next to our diva DJ, or down in the bursting pit of people, the show epitomized the sweaty insane fun that we expect from a dance concert with one of the coolest DJs.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Standout Tracks: “Play Your Part,” “Like This,” “Still Here”

Girl Talk is the stage name (which, he says, he took from a Jim Morrison poem) of Pittsburgh DJ Gregg Gillis. His latest album, Feed The Animals, is one of his most successful mash up releases to date. Every song is a brilliant and effortless mix of over a dozen hip-hop, pop, and rock hit tracks, ranging from M.I.A to Queen to The Killers to Lil Wayne, with no restrictions. Even if you expect to be surprised, Gillis will still manage to shock you with every song clip he uses. The album was number four on the top 10 albums of 2008, the second-best recording album of the year according to Blender magazine, and was hugely prominent over the summer at parties and clubs across the globe.A lot of people I have spoken to don’t have a lot of respect for mash-up DJs and are under the impression that their task of compiling ready-made songs is easy. However, song mashing is an art; most DJs like Girl Talk have their own original instrumentation within the tracks, and it takes someone with a keen ear to be able to make such fast-paced combinations, perfecting the fill-ins and fade-outs.I think one of the reasons everyone loves Girl Talk so much is because he doesn’t stick to one genre but incorporates songs from across many generations and styles, connecting them with superb mastery and naturalness. We’re always waiting to see what other songs he will infuse into the track, and when we hear a familiar song, listeners go “Oh my God, Nirvana!” or “Tiny Dancer! That’s my favorite song!” These mental synapses are what Gillis’s listeners wait for. My favorite track on the new album is his flawless blend of TI’s “What You Know,” Shawnna’s “Getting Some Head,” and the timeless “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinnead O’Connor. The mash-up king’s latest best seller is almost perfect.

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