Imagine the biggest house party you've even been to, and the best DJ you've ever heard is playing every single one of your favorite songs and guilty pleasures. Now multiply that by a gazillion. That might come close to matching the excitement at Congress Theater on Saturday night.
Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) is not a DJ, he's an artist, a master at mixing together snippets of songs that already exist, and that you've already heard into a new, completely different animal. His latest album, Feed The Animals, is a mashup of samples running into and over each other from Nirvana to Roy Orbison (?!?!) along with over 300 others.
It was a party from the moment you walked in. There was a DJ set up in the lobby blasting you in the face with music and stage smoke right as you entered. It was a bit of a shock at first, coming in from 30-degree temperatures outside, but it quickly wore off once you got into the theater. I noticed once inside, that all the seats on the floor level had been removed making for maximum dance-floor. A couple of minutes after Gillis took the stage and introduced himself, the confetti popped and ridiculousness ensued. A mass of party-goers rushed on to the stage, and there were guys running across the stage shooting toilet paper streamers into the audience. Gillis mixes his shows live in the midst of fans dancing almost on top of him, this time playing a lot of familiar clips from Feed the Animals, with a lot of new, impromptu mashup material as well.
Thousands of sweaty kids, most dressed in some version of fluorescent spandex, looked like they were having the time of their lives. Speaking of sweaty, Gillis is probably the sweatiest of all, taking off layers of clothing as he goes, even covering his laptop with plastic to protect it from dripping sweat (and spilled drinks!) He looks like he's having the time of his life at every show, but this time he thanked the crowd over and over for making it the best night of his life, saying that this was the biggest show he's ever headlined. Imagine being a biomedical engineer and being able to give up your 9-to-5 (even if just for a few years) to basically party across the country.
The energy didn't stop from beginning to end. When you're hearing only the hardest hooks from your favorite mainstream songs, its not surprising that the tone never drops. Every once in a while the cheering picked up even more when the video backdrop scanned a picture of our President-elect, hometown hero Barack Obama. For the encore, there was a Journey-accompanied balloon drop and Girl Talk himself (stripped down to his boxers by this point) crowd surfed back to the sound-booth and closed the show from there. Consider it the most fun you could have at a house party without actually trashing anyone's house.
Feed The Animals is available at www.illegalart.net. You can download the digital version for whatever price you want.
(Album image from Illegal Art's website)