live review

Girl Talk

Girl Talk

January 25 2009
Cassette Nine, Auckland

Reviewed by Clayton Foster
29th March 2010

If you’ve heard of Girl Talk, aka former biomedical engineer Greg Gillis from the States, then you know what his music is: an in-your-face fist-pumping celebration of pop and hip-hop, and a gleefully indulgent reward for anyone whose paid any attention at all to music over the last, say, 30 years. After all, where else could you hear Madonna, Tom Petty, of Montreal, Prince, Daft Punk and Ice Cube sampled together in a space of 90 seconds (as on track 8 from his 2008 Feed The Animals, which you can download for any price you choose from his myspace page)?

So it was with no small amount of anticipation that he was greeted at Auckland’s Cassette Bar, his second appearance in NZ in two years. The pleasure in his music – both listening to and dancing to – comes from the weird surrealism of wondering exactly what type of gig you’re at: should you be moshing, twisting, or pop ‘n’ locking? Shit, its up to you, and what you can squeeze into the tight area of movement offered by the similarly up-for-it crowd around you.

For his own part, Gillis makes a surprisingly charismatic figure for a man who spends the entire time behind a MacBook. Shirt quickly coming off and encouraging the stage to be flooded with the more extroverted of the crowd, Gillis is there to party along with the rest of us. So how does one perform a live version of a totally sampled album? Mostly by using the same samples, some new ones and some old ones, and remixing them as he sees fit at the time. To be honest, the mix wasn’t quite as amazing as the album, but that’s to be expected from what’s a presumably on-the-fly mix.

This was one of those gigs you just wished was playing every week. Don’t be gone too long, Mr Talk.

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