By Joe Shearer – Photo Editor
I’m still having flashbacks of the last encounter I had with Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk. It was a biting cold January 9, 2009 at Slowdown, and the recently immortalized Pennsylvanian DJ was in town to host one of his famed electric dance parties. I wasn’t sure if the hype surrounding him was “all that,” but I quickly learned that Gillis does indeed throw one hell of a party.
As soon as the show started the stage was bum-rushed, basically turning it into a dance floor. It was sweltering inside the venue and the sweat generated from the crazed, hip-shaking youngsters in attendance only lubricated their grind-dancing efforts. Tuxedoed Girl Talk lackeys shot toilet paper across the room with leaf blowers. Mischievous concert goers took said toilet paper and proceeded to jam it down the toilets, overflowing the plumbing. All the while, Gillis pounded away at his laptop, piecing melodies, beats and lyrics together. Beers were spilled, drugs were afloat and chaos ensued until the last beat hit.
It’s an “anything goes” kind of affair when Girl Talk is in charge, and this Friday Maverick Productions is bringing him to Sokol Auditorium to bring the house down – hopefully, not literally this time.
Gillis isn’t your typical DJ. In fact, he doesn’t even prefer to be labeled as a DJ. He is of the “mash-up” genre, where two or more songs are stripped down and the pieces are layered back over each other to give it a new form. While this practice is nothing new, Girl Talk has been pushing the envelope of “mash-up” technicality.
His last album, “Feed the Animals,” includes over 300 samples in the span of just under 54 minutes. It’s like a party in your head where all of your favorite artists are hanging out. Where else can you hear Ol’ Dirty Bastard spitting over Yo La Tengo melodies? What about Big Country providing a soft rock backdrop to Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)?” Gillis rounds the bases, hitting every musical genre on the way, and everything comes together at the home plate.
Take it from someone who has been in the front lines of a Girl Talk show: expect to party this Friday. But should you expect to see the shenanigans that occurred last time Girl Talk was in town?
I think not. The event is being put on by Maverick Productions and because it is a student organization endorsed by UNO, alcohol is not to be served at the show.
Will this put a damper on some people’s evenings?
I would hope not. After all, it’s really about the music, right? If people are that worried about being buzzed for the show, there is a bar next door to the venue and many a basement to inhabit. Students of legal drinking age can have a couple cold ones before heading out – but not driving – to the show.
If history repeats itself, however, the beat will be enough to control the masses.