Show Review: Girl Talk at First Avenue

by Sally Hedberg


He can’t play the guitar and he’s sure not the brilliant lyricist of our generation. He’s capitalized on the success of dozens of pop artists and hasn’t been held legally accountable, yet. All preconceived standards of musicianship suggest that this dude is a cheater, a fraud, merely coasting on the certainty that people will always love top 40 hits and that people will always love to dance. Well you know what, Gregg Gillis AKA Girl Talk is right and based off of his performance last night at First Avenue that’s more than enough to brand him a modern day rock star in the eyes of his fans.

Let’s face it: First Avenue isn’t always a fun place to party when it’s sold out. You lose your posse at a jam-packed rock show and it can totally dampen your experience, especially when the crowd is one of those relentless unmoving types. Even more so if you’re 5’4 and non-confrontational (guilty).  Upon initially entering the club last night, I had doubts. It was packed. New Delhi packed. Inaugural address packed. And within twenty minutes I had been separated from my crew. As a person that’s never really jumped onto the dance-music/mashup bandwagon (meaning, I don’t even listen to Girl Talk all that often) I concluded that this show might inevitably end up a bummer for me. This foolish negativity lasted for about two minutes. Then the music started.

Opening with “Oh No,” the first track off of his latest LP, “All Day,” I regret to tell you that as far as a set list goes, that’s all I’ve got.  The ensuing two hours weren’t about the individual songs anyway. They were about the collective Girl Talk experience and the unrivaled energy of the audience.

There’s no more apt description than to say that everything about the performance was a party.  From the quite literal party of hot girls that were brought on stage to rage, to the rockets of confetti, toilet paper and indiscriminate balloon-filled tubes, Girl Talk transformed First Ave. into an episode of Skins (the REAL Skins, duh).  It didn’t matter that you were drenched in the sweat of your unknown neighbor or that said neighbor was unintentionally getting to second base. It didn’t matter that there was a consistent stream of UFD’s* adding to the moisture of your clothes. Hell, it didn’t matter if your clothes essentially came off. The people around you were your best friends and additionally the best dance partners you ever had. I’m quite confident that if it came down to it, the crowd at Girl Talk would take the bullet to save YOUR life, any one of you.

Whether it be a sample of Wiz Khalifa(uh uh, he threw in a “Black and Yellow” bit), New Order, Cali Swag or Lady Gaga, the people were consumed with a crazed dance enthusiasm that lasted throughout the encore. It must be said that this enthusiasm was completely positive. Should you (as I did) have desired to creep up to the front railing to steal the most exciting view, no elbows to the face would you meet. Quite contrarily, the audience assisted in making sure that you got to your coveted destination.

Dance shows may be uncharted territory for some. In my experience it’s a genre of music that people either wholeheartedly commit to or brush off entirely. Regardless of whether you consider it “real” music or just the perpetual soundtrack of rolling ravers, everyone likes a good party. And in the entirety of my First Ave. concert-going career, Girl Talk definitely brought the best one.


*Unidentified flying drink