This was our official first post, originally published in early December. It is the review of the Girl Talk concert that was held at Gravity Nightclub in Cheswick, PA on November 22, 2008. CX Kidtronik, Grand Buffet and Skymall opened the show.
I had read about his shows. I had seen the YouTube clips from Chicago, New York, Coachella, and Pitchfork. I even heard a first hand account of how he played, quite illegally(though I highly doubt that fazed him), through a sweat drenched night at a frat house basement in the middle of St. Louis, after the cops shut down his show, literally cutting the power off, on the campus Washington University of St. Louis earlier that night. But even after all this hype, the many glowing reviews and my own ridiculously high standards; I was still unprepared for how much undiluted, visceral fun I was about to experience.
The effect sinks in only moments after the “show” has ended. My ears are still stinging with howling wind tunnels effects, every conversation taking place in my immediate proximity sounds like Charlie Brown’s torso-less parents are scolding me for some indecipherable mistake. I catch my breath, put on my heavy sweatshirt over the sweaty t-shirt that was rubbing up against close to thirteen girls I never knew, and will never know, and walk out onto the sharp, salt crusted asphalt of Pittsburgh in late November. We wade into the parking lot with a sea of other people and stand amidst what could possibly be the most embarrassing strip mall ever assembled. It includes a dry cleaner, a western trading post(whatever that is), a Payday Loan center…in a store front, and a former roller skate arena that has spent the entire night testing its natural frequency against the man named Girl Talk.
Almost everyone was shaking their heads in disbelief, recounting their favorite moments, still bumping up and down from the reverb in their heads. After I took a much needed steaming piss smack dab in the middle of the asphalt lot, I was still amazed, asking myself one question over and over again: how the hell does he do it? How does Greg Gillis change the momentum of a concert/dance party/club experience, whatever the hell you want call it, so effortlessly? How does he keep mounting the suspense of the night through the anticipation of what booty shaking, earth shattering, mouth watering combination of beat and voice that will come next?
But then I come back to the moment, one that I was already anticipating but somehow forgot about, that sealed the deal. As I was busy shaking my ass to one of my favorite combinations off Feed The Animals— Kanye’s “Flashing Lights” meets Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” meets Radiohead’s “15 step”—which sounded so perfect on the album I could hardly imagine those songs being separated thereafter, the classic combination the crowd was anxiously waiting for begins. Elton goes first with four bars of Tiny Dancer innocently trickling out of the laptop alone. Everything is now vibrating at a higher frequency, my eyes shake like Blair Witch cameras and I rub closer to the girls I don’t know. Then, Biggie’s bravura takes hold, “I LET MY TAPE ROCK TILL MY TAPE POP!”
Everyone sways, waiting for the drum to hit, knowing full well we are all at the will of Mr. Gillis. He throbs over his lap top, intently examining the screen as a horde of “dancers” on stage threaten to boil over the edge, assimilating back into the crowd. He swigs his 16 oz. beer and lets the drum pop. The crowd cheers, the moment is upon them now, washing through everyone in the abandoned roller skate arena that poses as a concert venue, complete with an impromptu bar area near the doors. Black and gold balloons that were suspended above the crowd, daunting them with the promise of a faux New Year’s eve, are unleashed upon the masses. The screen in the stage’s background, formerly throwing up collages of Pittsburgh sports emblems, now pulsates with one sentence, “I AM NOT A DJ.”
This mash-up sequence, which combines Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” with Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy,” is arguably Greg Gillis’ most infamous combination. The music tumbles through the speakers with even glitchier variations of 808’s and Auto Tune than I remembered, careening gracefully out of control. To say this was the climax is an anticlimax. I want to avoid hyperbole… but it was fucking religious. Slam ten pounders of PBR and witness this attack of disintegrated popular music and even your most banal opinions of hipster scenes at smaller concert venues will be washed aside. It was easily the most memorable concert moment of my young life, one that Pittsburgh must remember for years. The prodigal son returned, made love to Pittsburgh, and tore shit up. I don’t think any us who attended that show could have asked for more.