Girl Talk in Concert (2011)

In theory, Girl Talk is music engineered to be family-friendly. There is popular music from every decade of the last fifty years mashed-up and stuffed into an hour of phenomenal dj-ing and mixing. The crowd is pumped and energized for the raviest mosh that is fun for teens and hipster parents who are totally ‘with’ it, too.

Having offered that up; there is a fine line between being cool and being employed. Take for instance, the semi-responsible Monday through Friday/9 to 5 type who has heard great things about a musician and is prepared to make the transition from dive bar bands to promoter-worthy mainstream. This includes the added commute of getting to a mainstream auditorium, the responsibility of being too far from home to safely walk under the influence and still getting enough sleep to be functional at the office tomorrow.

Which begs the question: If doors open at 8 p.m., what time will the main act begin?

For digital artist, Girl Talk AKA Gregg Gillis, the show started when he got there…at eleven. For a man that began in bio-medical engineering, it is fascinating to guess at the thought process that led to such a drastic career change. Most obviously, freedom seems the winning choice.

On a Monday night in Los Angeles, an artist can expect – nay, depend on – his fan base to be wild and appreciative and mostly underage. Whereas it is very likely that the majority of attendees to Monday night’s All Ages show at the Palladium were over 21, it is far easier to believe that the age of the crowd curved more along the 16-20 demographic. Too young to buy alcohol at the venue, bottles of the hard stuff are stashed close by and young revelers constantly disappear to the car or the bathroom.

Of course, anyone over 21 who has waited three hours on a school night for a show to begin can be equally as inebriated. It is a strong presumption that those over 21 have jobs. These concert attendees will want a frothy beverage to pass the time as the main act heightens anticipation by peaking the show in time for the witching hour.

The first two acts were nearly along the same lines as the headliner, i.e. digital tracks with some original inclusions and ad libs. Junk Culture is of a heavier electronica breed while Max Tundra is English and spins with a twist, adding more vocals to his performance than either of the other musicians. As any musician will attest, happy dancers, gyrating and swaying with abandon on the outskirts of the slowly swelling mob is a good thing.

At 10:45, the lights go dim and randomly heard throughout the crowd are tiny eruptions from fans shouting for the main act, calling him by alias. More shouts, squeals and hums as the minutes tick by. Finally, the on-stage screen is illuminated with the words Girl Talk in brightly colored and changing letters. The volume of the crowd goes from sonic boom to gallactically deafening in welcome of the headliner.

The entire space is electrified by hit after hit, literally. Nearly four hundred songs can be sampled in the compilation one album. For Girl Talk, the biggest mash-up of artists seem to be on the album Night Ripper featuring approximately 372 samples. However, his current release Feed the Animals, like the other two, is a non-stop downloadable party.

Monday night’s show at the Hollywood Palladium was heavy with 90s rap bass lines a la Biggie Smalls and 2 Live Crew. But Girl Talk is all about representation and did not forsake the 2000s pop princesses like Kelly Clarkson or Lady GaGa. The music is kept really ‘real’ with a throwback to early crossover hits like, Shout (You make me wanna) written and originally performed by the Isley Brothers. There’s even representation from 80s big hair bands like Bon Jovi and their addictive ballads as well as bits of original electronica. Going to a club has rarely if ever produced such radically connected and danceable beats.

Given the inflation by scalpers and the rampant underage moshers, it’s more than a notion to give the show very high marks – even in light of the best seamless sampling. Waiting two plus hours through mediocre openers was likened to any open-mike to be found in the seedier store-fronts of the Sunset Strip. The spread at the bar was decent with imports and domestics available, but one is really high-rolling in this economy to shell out $14 for more than one 24oz of suds – even if it is a Newcastle.