Last Night: Girl Talk and The Cool Kids at the Granada Theater

Girl Talk, The Cool Kids
Granada Theater
June 23, 2011

Better than:
sweating to the oldies.

girltalkgranada1.jpg
Ally Jayne Hoffman
Of course there was confetti last night. It was a Girl Talk show, for crying out loud. See more photos in our slideshow.
Greg Gillis is not an aerobics instructor.

But perhaps the man behind the ever-popular Girl Talk name should be. Because -- there's just no cutting around the bush here -- his 110-minute headlining performance at the Granada Theater last night felt like a workout.

It was everything the mashup king's fans wanted out of the concert, no doubt -- a thrilling stroll down instant nostalgia lane, a sweaty dance party, a sensory overload in the truest sense.

But, captivating as this all was, it was also somewhat confounding. For a few reasons.

The main issue at hand: It's not exactly clear -- never has been, really -- what Girl Talk is actually performing at his shows. Surely, most of the mashups he shares (from his computer set-up) are pre-recorded. Much of it, out of sheer necessity, is certainly pre-choreographed as well, at least to a degree.

Gillis dances, too. A lot. He's the best possible hype man his offerings could have as he, shirtless and with his hair pulled out of his eyes by a bandana worn like a headband, bounces around his computer and on top of his table set up, all the while surrounded by a gaggle of fans.

How, then, could he possibly have the time to create mashups on the fly? He can't, really. And he doesn't, necessarily: Many of the mashups he played last night had already been heard on record. Interestingly enough, it was these recognizable combinations (such as his blend of Ludacris and Black Sabbath that opens his 2010 free download release, All Day) that drew the biggest pop from his fans at this sold-out show.

Is it simply a matter of pressing play and letting the work speak for itself? Perhaps. Far as this crowd was concerned, that was all it needed to be.

It's an interesting study, indeed, a Girl Talk performance -- one that speaks volumes of our attention deficit disorder-filled culture, one that screams from the rooftops our obsession with popular culture, and one that proves that indie kids do in fact enjoy more Top 40 fare than they'll ever publicly let on.

A comical highlight of the night: Halfway through his set, fittingly, the backbeat dropped from the P.A., leaving only an a capella of the chorus from Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer." The entire theater, it seemed, screamed along at the top of their lungs.

More than anything, perhaps, a Girl Talk show is a study of herd mentality.

But it sure is fun. Without question. And Girl Talk is the best at what he does. That much, too, is indisputable -- the sweat-drenched shirts of his crowd, as they spilled out onto the Granada patio after the show ended, proved as much.

Still, it does look and feel like a spin class. The greatest, most insane, balls-to-the-wall spin class ever, perhaps. But a spin class nonetheless.

It came, too, with a proper warm-up exercise: Chicago-based rap duo The Cool Kids opened the show, starting promptly at 9 p.m., and playing songs from both their Bake Sale mixtape and upcoming proper full-length album debut alike. Skilled lyricists and well-practiced showmen, the duo, backed by a DJ who kept spinning their beats with between-song breaks, got the crowd properly amped for Girl Talk's set.

The only thing missing was a group stretching session.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I like mashups. I like Girl Talk. But I'd never seen him perform live before. Perhaps that's the root of my fascination/frustration/lack of understanding. I take that back: It almost certainly is.

Ranom Note: The Granada had jugs of water out front on the patio so fans could get free water if needed. Smart move, given certain circumstances at similar events of late.

By The Way:
Oldest guy in the room? KTCK-1310 AM The Ticket's Mike Rhyner, host of afternoon drive-time show, "The Hardline." He told me it was his second Girl Talk show. He's a big fan. But he's never heard any of Girl Talk's recorded music, interestingly enough.

Location Info

Map

Granada Theater

3524 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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13 comments
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Smokey Problemson
Smokey Problemson

I hadn't heard many girl talk tracks before the show last night, but I went because I just had to see this mashup artist my friends (people with good taste in music no less!) were falling all over themselves to see.. And it was FUN. I don't remember the last time I danced so much or with such energy. I'm normally the one with my arms folded trying to figure out how to sway without looking like too much of a douche, but I was in the ZONE last night, and so was everyone else in that building. I would go see him again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day (the fourth day, I would rehydrate.)

I guess the lack of clear live music making didn't bother me much because I paid $7 and I got one of the most fun dance parties of my life. And like you said, it wasn't like he was just sitting onstage behind a laptop--his stage presence was more exciting and fun to watch than most live acts. 

It was nice to meet you by the way! I was in the drenched das racist shirt hanging out with Sally on the patio smoking a cigarette, pouring water over my already sweat-soaked head and talking shit about Bon Jovi.

Smokey Problemson
Smokey Problemson

Not talking smack about bon jovi per se, but at the idea that a bon jovi singalong could ever be a bad thing.

Jiggawattmusic
Jiggawattmusic

"Interestingly enough, it was these recognizable combinations (such as his blend of Ludacris and Black Sabbath that opens his 2010 free download release, All Day) that drew the biggest pop from his fans at this sold-out show" 

I don't remember him playing that last night.

Steve
Steve

When I was a kid guys like this could only find a job at the roller rink.

stephenbecker
stephenbecker

I was thinking about that, re: how much he's really doing live during a show. But in the end I figured he's already done the heavy lifting putting all this stuff together. If he's just standing there pressing play more or less, I'm fine with it, even if it did look last night like he was running on a treadmill while doing it. Bottom line: If he were playing again tonight, I would be first in line (this time with earplugs).

turbosix
turbosix

he explains what he does on stage here, whether it's true or just marketing is i guess up for debate:http://www.rollingstone.com/cu... 

and damn it, you saw shoopie? i wanted to give him a hug. no fair. 

Nick Boyd
Nick Boyd

wow. rockin' the windows xp!

Stay_Puft
Stay_Puft

>>"But he's never heard any of Girl Talk's recorded music, interestingly enough."

From earlier in your review it sounds like he has heard a fair bit of Gillis' recorded music.

just sayin'
just sayin'

The only way to enjoy Girl Talk is stoned. Hearing Radiohead mixed with Ol' Dirty Bastard is mind blowing when you are high. Sober and lucid it just sounds like some shit that some kid did on his computer and uploaded to youtube.

babe
babe

i dunno...i was pretty stoned...and really freaking overwhelmed.

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