Girl Talk returns to Cain’s Ballroom
For a sold-out show, there was plenty of floor space in the back of Cain’s Ballroom Thursday night.
It’s because sweaty concertgoers were pressing toward the stage, writhing and gyrating heel-to-toe against each other, driven by the hundreds of popular tracks Gillis was spinning three or more at a time from his Saran Wrapped laptop.
The mousey DJ set the evening’s tone shortly after assuming command of the stage, as the already-heavy chorus from Ludacris’s “Move” was lent cosmic power by the infamous metal guitar riff from Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.
Tongue-tying hip hop verses intermingled with the brainchildren melodies and hooks of artists throughout the decades: Radiohead, Bon Jovi, Nirvana, LCD Soundsystem. Traditional pop dance songs were stripped down and assembled with parts of other dance songs, creating irresistible super-Frankenstein-like dance songs that make the girls who screamed themselves deaf for The Beatles look pretty rational.
Gillis is well-listened and unsubtle. His brain is a catalogue of not only songs, but their specific and most intricate working parts. He meshes the most primal of hip hop verses with the rock and roll favorites of teenage boys discovering their father’s record collectionand does giddy by speeding up fuzzy Phoenix keyboards and 80′s hair and pop.
What impressed me most was that about 80% of what entered my ears had never been there before, even from Girl Talk studio albums or the Yale bootleg. It sounds as though -like his music- Gillis is constantly altering, recycling, experimenting and progressing in his performance tendencies.
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