Concert Reviews

Over the Weekend: Girl Talk at the Palladium Ballroom

Girl Talk
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Palladium Ballroom

Better than: Listening to a bunch of actual girl talk.

Whether you can dance or not, you know you want to. You just need a good excuse and, in some cases, a little lubrication. Saturday night Girl Talk provided the excuse. An abundance of lubricants of various ilk -- consumed on and off premises at the Palladium -- seemed to be to have been employed by many in the way sold-out show. People of all stripes definitely got their dance on.

Pulling up to the venue, it was obvious that lots of people had gone to some extraordinary lengths to have a great time without the risk of the law on the way home. (Well done, folks)! Party buses, limos and taxis were in abundance, dropping off rave-ready party kids. There were plenty of bros, hipsters (maybe not so much as for past shows), moms and dads, all out to have fun with music they love.

After a delay to allow enough time for everyone to get into the venue, the deep bass rumble of a super chopped and scissored chant of "Girl Talk" erupted the crowd, Greg Gillis bounded out on stage alone and got things going with the "War Pigs"/ "Move Bitch" mash that starts latest release All Day. The determined crowd was off and running, er, dancing. With their arrival announced by some
stage-hands firing toilet paper rolls into the crowd, Gillis was quickly joined on stage by about 30 local fans. These lucky ones served as proxies for the crowd that Gillis used to perform in the middle of. Twenty minutes in, it looked as though the coach should have sent in some replacements for some of them -- they were sprinters in a race that required marathon skills.

Ten minutes into the show, the constantly bouncing and waving Gillis peeled off the hoodie he was wearing and threw it towards the crowd. It joined the fusillade of glow stick projectiles that were flying throughout the evening. After thirty minutes, his T-shirt was off, revealing the sweaty Gillis familiar from shows past.

What Girl Talk does is kind of brilliant, and it's easy to see why he now enjoys such a broad appeal. He takes songs that have an extremely wide appeal (or at least awareness) and presents little totems of them for an attention-challenged audience. Almost anyone can join in singing the chorus to a song like Pilot's "Oh Ho Ho Its Magic" -- when you know you won't have to do it for more than about 20 seconds. And while he can't change the little mashups, he does a live mix of the samples to pace the crowd.

As promised, the show included a stage setting created for this tour. An LED scrim served as the massive back curtain for the stage, with videos and live feeds from within the audience projected throughout. The live feed was pretty interesting, with signal drops (either real or fake) that created the effect of a transmission from a distant planet. The videos were a little less impressive, with images like hot dogs and tacos mixed in with images from around Dallas.

There was toilet paper, confetti rain and balloons galore. By the time it was all said and done, it was a sweaty hot mess of a crowd. The audience got the dance party it so desperately wanted.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note: I have not seen a wider cross section of people at a concert in a long time, and some of the costumes were pretty awesome.
Personal Bias: Listen, I admire what Gregg Gillis does. No doubt, it's a good idea executed to perfection. But I STILL have to scratch my head a bit when a guy making mashup music vastly outsells original artists like LCD Soundsystem at the Palladium, a band that is just as danceable and completely live and original. Go figure....

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Doug Davis