Words by: Patrick Knibbs
Dan Deacon/Girl Talk :: 01.26.08 :: Metro :: Chicago, IL
A Girl Talk/Dan Deacon show can be summed up in one word: fun. On their last stop in the Windy City, for the 2007 Pitchfork Festival, the two ignited a rowdy dance party that almost shut down the entire fest. So, their long-awaited return garnered a good bit of attention. Tickets for the two shows at the Metro sold out in minutes, and the few that resurfaced on Craigslist (for ten times face value) were scooped up as quickly as they were posted. DJ-centered shows can be complacent or even boring, but these two acts up the ante. They realize the importance of showmanship and audience interaction, and by combing these attributes with bangin' beats they threw a smoldering, wild party on a blustery winter eve in Chicago.
Deacon, the Baltimore-based classically trained composer and electronic music wiz, got the night rolling at a furious pace. From behind his rig, which was set up in the middle of the massive crowd, Deacon demanded the audience get involved. Playful requests to hold hands with people or interlock arms and construct a massive human bridge were granted without objection by the eager, sweaty masses. His compositions were immense sonic landscapes that distorted the thin line between audience and entertainer.
An accurate description of Deacon's music is difficult. It's a clusterfuck humming with elements of punk, funk, rock and dance music colliding with enough electronic weirdness that it's no wonder that he and his fellow Wham City constituents have been coined "noise rock." Highlights from the set included the epic "Wham City" and "Crystal Cat," both from his current Spiderman of the Rings album, and an odd cover of Bobby Darin's "Splish Splash."
Following the rowdy Deacon set, was the mash-up wizardry of Girl Talk a.k.a. Gregg Gillis. Gillis' unique, precision cut 'n' paste sample-based remixes have vaulted the 26 year old to fame, and the eruption he received as he took the stage was further vindication of the Pittsburg native's likeability factor. His knack for song combo's like Metallica's "One" with Yin Yang Twins' "Bad," as well as his open-invitation to join him on stage during the entire show further wooed the crowd.
Throughout the short set (roughly an hour), Gillis pieced together a slew of odd combinations that ranged from Kelly Clarkson to 2 Live Crew to Guns 'n' Roses to M.I.A. to Tag Team. Gillis' mixes work because they show us what would happen if all the sound bites, radio songs and favorite tracks we have in our head smooshed together and fell out of a speaker. It's musical but it's also comical.
If you haven't been to a Girl Talk or Dan Deacon show get off the couch and go; if you can get a ticket of course.
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