Talking Girl Talk at the Fillmore

By | May 20th, 2011 | 13 Comments
Girl Talk @ Fillmore Miami Beach

Girl Talk! Girl Talk! Girl Talk! Girl Talk! Girl Talk! Girl Talk!

One thing we know after the Girl Talk show in Miami Beach Thursday night is that the Fillmore could withstand a rather violent earthquake. There were moments during the two-hour set when all the hyperbole one has ever heard about bass — “teeth rattling”, “ear shattering”, “ground shaking” — rang true and even seemed understated. For example, right around the time the General Public “Tenderness” sample made its joyful debut in “Let It Out” (track two off Girl Talk’s latest album, All Day), my esophagus starting vibrating like a milk frother.

Once I rode a horse on the beach in Puerto Rico, and I remember the discomfort of my organs bouncing around as Bonita cantered across the sand. At times Thursday night, I felt like I was seven seconds into a bull ride.

This was my second time seeing Girl Talk (known at the Thanksgiving table as Gregg Gillis). As I mentioned in last week’s ticket giveaway, I saw him perform at Chicago’s Congress Theater on New Year’s Eve 2009. I didn’t know his music at the time, just went for something to do on the last night of the year. It ended up being one of the best shows I’d ever been to. Sweaty, sensual, ecstatic, utterly uninhibited without being sleazy, pure fun. Wouldn’t have noticed one year gave way to the next if Gillis hadn’t gotten the thousands of us to count down to midnight together (which, coincidentally, suggests that the ability to count backwards may not necessarily indicate an ability to operate a motor vehicle).

Thursday night, with the Fillmore about three-quarters full and the crowd (average age: 11 years old) chanting his moniker, Gillis ran out in a red hoodie, his shoulder-length hair bound in a torn shirt sleeve, bounced along the rim of the stage reaching out to the pit, then climbed atop his laboratory table and implored Miami to “Make Some NOISE!” Typical DJ stuff. But there’s something about Girl Talk’s energy that is anything but typical. To call it “infectious” would be to give in too easily to cliché. It is that, for sure. But infections are malicious things, and Girl Talk’s vibe is about as salubrious as it gets.

Check out more photos from Girl Talk on the Beached Miami Facebook page

And even though certain aspects of the Girl Talk experience are gimmicky — balloon drops, toilet paper streamers, confetti blizzards (see below) — these touches are mere party favors compared to the aural spectacle of Girl Talk’s music, which gets a crowd bouncing faster than the post man gets a dog barking.

A lot of people take issue with Girl Talk’s mashups of other artists’ choruses, verses, bridges, and melodies. (A typical track on “All Day”, one of Gillis’ less frenetic albums, features 20 samples, ranging from a one-second horn blast from the Beastie Boys “Paul Revere” to the guitar strumming from Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.”) The critics of mashups in general impugn Gillis for his ostensible inability to create his own music. Reasonable folk can run with that argument — but only as far as the entrance to a Girl Talk show.

Once inside, you see thousands of people dancing (and not just from the shoulders up), and you hear snippets of some of the most famous music ever written, both good (“Shout”, “Thriller”) and bad (“Shot Through The Heart”), and, as you your-skeptical-self start to bob, you realize that not only is Gillis not stealing anyone’s music — he’s saving it. Furthermore, you realize that a Girl Talk track is not a mashup of song samples — it is itself a song. And a damn good one. And what you may not realize is that you’re already dancing to it.

This is how I view Girl Talk anyway. Not as a musical thief, but as something closer to a musical archaeologist-preservationist-regifter hybrid. What I love most about him, something I think came through powerfully Thursday night, is his ability to see the worth in all music, even in something as insipid as a Miley Cyrus song. I hear no mockery in Girl Talk mashups, only fascination and joy and revelry. And that trinity has the rare power to loosen limbs and dissolve hang-ups and get people dancing. And that is what we did Thursday night. And it was good.

Girl Talk has another show Friday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach (tickets still available). To see a ton of photos from the Thursday night show, visit the Beached Miami Facebook page.

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Breaking down mashup monster Girl Talk

By | May 18th, 2011 | 2 Comments

Mashup master and shameless sample slanger Girl Talk has shows at the Fillmore on Thursday and Friday night. As I mentioned in last week’s ticket giveaway post, I expect us all to drown dancing in a rising tide of our own sweat before Girl Talk gets through with us. In other words, I’m excited. Girl Talk (born Gregg Gillis) is touring on his fifth studio album, All Day, which is available for free and legal download on As with his previous output, All Day features a disparate and seemingly countless array of samples — everything from Black Sabbath to Trina — mashed together into tracks with the uncanny ability to turn staid human beings into ecstatic satyrs. I say “seemingly countless” because the magazine Fast Company and artist Tiffany Farrant did count the number of samples in each track of All Day and then neatly displayed them in an infographic.

Above is the breakdown of “Oh No”, track one on All Day, which splices up Slick Rick, The Doors, and The Ramones, to name a few. You can see the full All Day breakdown on

Not easily impressed? Then head over to Mashup Breakdown, where you can listen to All Day in its entirety and visually track its hopscotch path from one sample to another. Hard to explain, all too easy to get sucked in by. Just click the image below to see what I’m talking about.

As I alluded to above, we gave away two tickets to the Girl Talk show last week. For the scores of you who didn’t win, Sweat Records has a ridiculous Girl Talk giveaway, which includes tickets and a chance to meet Gregg Gillis, going on until 4 p.m. today. [Update: Contest closed.]

Good luck! Hope to see you in the Girl Talk Mash Pit this weekend.

Follow Beached Miami on Twitter (@beachedmiami) and Facebook

Digital Dionysus: Girl Talk at Fillmore (ticket giveaway)

By | May 9th, 2011 | 63 Comments
Girl Talk

Girl Talk working the Wilma Theater in Missoula, Montana -- photo by Lydia Winants

Touring on his fifth studio album, All Day, Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk is playing at the Fillmore Miami Beach on May 19 and May 20. I say “playing” even though the word doesn’t quite describe Girl Talk’s thang: sampling anything from Lennon to Soulja Boy in sonic mashups that will, without fail and within seconds, transform a live crowd of reasonably inhibited individuals into a sweat-slicked tribe of 21st Century satyrs thirsty for the sacrificial blood of digital goats.

I saw Girl Talk in Chicago on New Year’s Eve 2009. It was 18 degrees outside and, within moments of Gillis taking the stage, about 180 degrees inside. Gillis was then touring on Feed The Animals, an album title he delivered on in spades, force feeding us an unquantifiable array of sonic samples that made us swing like monkeys until we stunk like pigs. I left the venue ten pounds skinnier, drenched in alcohol (mine and not mine) and sweat (ditto), and so overheated it took a minute for me to realize it was literally freezing outside.

I’ve regained those ten pounds in the last year and a half, but that’s only part of why I can’t wait for Girl Talk’s gigs next week. Mostly it’s because I’m expecting Gillis, the Digital Dionysus, to reduce the Fillmore to a heap of rubble with all of us, drenched and ecstatic, buried inside.

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