Everything happens so fast and so relentlessly at a Girl Talk concert--and because his whole mix is just one big, rapid jumble of other songs--it's hard to keep track of it all. Mostly what you end up noticing are a few really effective or affecting juxtapositions, either the big party-starting combinations or the ones that twist a lyric's mood by setting it against contrasting music--and whether he's doing them the same way as on his albums or if he's switching things up for the live set. So, a few highlights then:
Girl Talk photo by Victoria Holt from Tuesday night's slideshow
Gregg Gillis walked out to to a loop of someone saying the name "Girl Talk" at first so slow and pitched down as to just be one seismic bass rumble but speeding up with each iteration to become a chant, with the crowd clapping and chanting along, and then a fast-forwarding tape going out of control. He took his position behind a battle-ready-looking laptop table flanked by two monitors and underneath a bright grid of LEDs (which at one point would flash a picture of Gillis' manic face scrolling up and down, flashing wild eyes, then grinning teeth, then back). He opened with the combo of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and Ludacris' "Move Bitch" that also opens his latest album All Day, and his prescreened crowd of partiers was onstage before Luda finished the first verse.During that album's clash of Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On" and the Ramones, the LED screen flashed "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" In the hangar-sized Showbox SoDo, it was like the best junior-high dance EVAR, only with nominal adults. A few pairings not heard on the album: Jay-Z's "Can I Get A . . . " set to the indelible electric guitar line of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind"; Tag Team's "Whoomp! There It Is" set to the ascending synth steps of MGMT's "Kids"; Wiz Khalifa's surprise Super Bowl anthem for Gillis' hometown Pittsburgh Steelers "Black and Yellow" over the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" (nice); Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" over Rod Stewart's "Young Turks"; Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" over the lonely piano intro of Kanye West's "Runaway." He also played what might be the single best moment of All Day: Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's "Pretty Boy Swag" boasting over the top of Aphex Twin's creepy, gas-breathing "Window Licker"--so good.
Confetti shot into the air, the audience warred with giant tubes of balloons, Gillis shouted about "SEATTLE!" and praised its awesome Wednesday-night partying abilities. He closed his proper set with John Lennon's "Imagine" for fuck's suck.
Before all that happened, Max Tundra had the considerable task of keeping the animals fed until Girl Talk showed up. He did it with his usual weirdo charm, like a cartoon monkey someone had taught to play several instruments and sing well-mannered pop songs. He segued from his own song "Lights" into a blipping 8-bit renditiion of Daft Punk's "Digital Love." He played his excellent original numbers "Which Song" and "Will Get Fooled Again" as well as his cover of the KLF's "What Time is Love," the crowd cheering wildly for his melodica solos, and a little interpolation of Beyonce's "Single Ladies." He hopped around, danced like a spaz, rapidly switched instruments, sang in his airy falsetto, and occasionally threw a few wimpy bits of confetti into the air, which he was picking up off the stage where it was left over from the previous night's show. Not to get all rockist about it or anything, but for a crowd so wildly excited about a guy running MAX/MSP programs on a laptop, it was nice to see them cheering for Max Tundra's more traditional prodigious talent.
Fun Fact: A big Twin Peaks fan, Max Tundra mentioned that the tour was planning to stop at Tweed's Cafe, the set for that show's Double R Diner, in North Bend before continuing to Portland today. He only seemed more excited when I told him it had, apres Lynch, been converted into a bizarre shrine to Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat.