Girl Talk | 01.18.11

What was once infamous and dangerous is no longer, even if it may still be a good time. 



The Pageant, St. Louis.
Gregg Gillis, by most standards, had to be the smartest man at the Pageant last night. He spoke to the sold out crowd with the brevity and vocabulary as if he were his own hype man. At times that served him well, as his dancing figure in front of the laptop often found itself lost in the sea of aesthetically pleasing teenagers and college kids populating the stage.
Gillis pulled greatly from familiar mashups that dotted his last few releases, and to see the crowd’s reaction to most of these drops left me with mixed feelings. While it’s hard to be completely dismissive about his output and performance—it’s not exactly fun or easy matching BPMs or choosing vocal tracks—there is definitely an alienating aspect to the spectacle for those who are sober or of the journalistic persuasion.
At one point two 10-foot-long balloons flew from the rear of the stage and landed in the crowd. I can’t tell you what Gillis was playing, but for the next while I watched one balloon flail in the air and pulsate as those on the dance floor tried their best to pop the sucker. After a few minutes it started to look more and more like a violent gesture; a bit crazed, not unlike the part in Jesus Camp when the youth prayed to a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush. Or, like ants trying to break down an uncooked hot dog.
As the deflated remains rolled over heads and out of sight, John Lennon’s “Imagine” began over the speakers and party balloons fell from the ceiling and popped on fingernails held skyward. At this moment it felt like something new was happening, but I got the sense that it was a finely staged moment, illuminated and presented as the natural world.
I’m sure that, to some extent, the evening will serve to define a certain point in the participants’ lives. But it’s a shame to think that it may also have been a well-crafted illusion. Gillis’ live mix feels relatively static and lacks the overall creativity of fellow mashup artists like Hood Internet. Dropping the vocal from M.O.P’s “Ante Up” was about as dangerous as Gillis got, and off the top of my head, I can’t remember if that was a freeze-dried morsel from one of his recent releases.
This isn’t to say that Gillis doesn’t deserve success or that his output shouldn’t be enjoyed, but it seems like Girl Talk has outgrown its niche and become overblown, an experience removed from its beginnings. What was once infamous and dangerous is no longer, even if it may still be a good time. | Bryan J. Sutter
Bryan Sutter’s shots from the show:

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