One can talk endlessly of the ‘madness’ of those unique gigs that erupted into something unexpectedly special, but even the most skillful wordsmiths will begin at a disadvantage they can never make up for. Time and time again, the same obstacle greets any summation, no matter how articulate: ‘you had to be there’.
In many ways, the same can be said of Greg Gillis’ music. I am not a fan of mash-ups. I haven’t been into hip-hop since my teenage years. I prefer to give laptop-driven performances a miss. Yet with Girl Talk, Gillis has discovered a simple formula that results in everyone enjoying themselves unequivocally: play every type of music at the same time!
Gillis is not a DJ or remix artist; he is, quite simply, a sound magician. Described as ‘glitch pop’, ‘digital error’ and ‘an abomination’, Girl Talk combines layers of recognisable songs into something that, in theory, really should not go together. By doing so, he tricks your body into dancing through an act of misleading brilliance. Those purists who would otherwise be inclined to shake their heads in disapproval can’t for the simple that their bodies are already moving, lured into an involuntary groove that betrays any rational analysis.
So too is it difficult to recapture the nonsensical exhilaration of it all, to describe how easily the situation became out of hand, resembling the atmosphere of ‘Spring Break’ at Mardi Gras. Within 15 minutes, Gillis had the stage invaded. The crowd were sweatily stripping off their clothes before there was even time to stop and make sense of how Metallica and the Jackson 5 were being interspersed with Wham! and Ace of Base.
*Thanks to Nialler9 for the video footage.