[15 March 2011]
PopMatters Associate Events Editor
It would be hard to write or read a review about Girl Talk that didn’t belabor one word: party. The music masher himself, Greg Gillis, better known to the world as Girl Talk, made Chicago let out its inner rage. But, let’s be honest, looking at the crowd, it wasn’t that difficult to conjure up.
The show felt like a party thrown in high school when the parents were away. The Congress Theater, which houses 4,000 fans, was sold out on back-to-back nights. Having once been a movie theater, this landmark building, with its cathedral-esque feel and ornate detailing is the kind of place where you could probably have once caught people looking around and noticing detail. But when Girl Talk comes around, people don’t really give a damn what design is painted on the ceiling because they just want a space to dance. The collective whole, of which a high percentage was under age, could have easily blown over the legal limit for alcohol consumption.
But Gillis works with this. He embraces and instigates the party atmosphere by regularly polluting the air with balloon drops and shooting off confetti cannons. Whenever there was any bit of a lull, the slightest moment for the audience to go back on their heels in the ninety minute set, toilet paper would be sent streaming off the stage, blowing into the crowd as an omnipresent reminder that “you signed up to party, so don’t forget that”. There were no breaks; the entire show was like one ninety minute song. The only momentary pauses were when Gillis would stand on his table to engage the crowd, letting them know he loved Chicago and loved them. Taking a quick cue from the stage, throngs of dance-happy fans sandwiched Girl Talk. Gillis not only provides the mix, but he gets into it as well.
While he did spin some of the same notable mixes that could be heard on his newest album, All Day, there were also a lot of other newly explored collaborations. Overlaying rap music with pop songs, Gillis played Jay-Z and then one song later Dexy’s Midnight Runner was blaring through the speakers. It was every kid with ADD’s dream come true. If you didn’t like a song that was being played, wait thirty seconds. If you heard a song you didn’t know, you had no choice but to get exposed. If it was a song you’d heard hundreds of times, you heard it a brand new way. It’s hard to walk away from a Girl Talk concert and not be a happy camper. Even better, once this party’s over, there are no beer cans to clean up before mom gets home.