With so many musicians constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, staying on top of the experimental bandwagon proves to be more and more difficult. It has become a contest to unearth the most obscure band possible. Have you heard of Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her? Didn�t think so. In this atmosphere of continual one-upping, Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, comes out on top.
Gillis is making music for everyone. Specializing in mashup music, this puts him somewhere between artist and king of the DJs. Gillis creates one-of-a-kind mixes drawing from across all genres and ending up with a song in which anyone can find enjoyment. One track will include samples from at least a dozen different musicians. Heavily influenced by the top 40 charts, Gillis mixes them up in fresh ways, pairing artists like Annie with The Black Eyed Peas and James Taylor with Mariah Carey. On one track you can expect to find samples from artists as diverse as Missy Elliott, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pixies, Jefferson Airplane and 50 Cent.
With the crowd at a Girl Talk concert being as diverse as the music itself, it is hard to believe that one little laptop creates the big sounds and funky dance beats. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Gillis started his career listening to the radio, picking out sounds with catchy riffs and mixing them together on his computer. His own label, Illegal Art, produced his first three albums including the newest, Night Ripper (2006). He is still riding the wave of success from this latest release but is working on a 2008 release Feed the Animals (working title).
Last Thursday night, Girl Talk brought his mashups to a gathering of nearly 600 in the Great Hall at the Memorial Union. Totally Michael, a Bloomington, Ind., musician, pumped up the energy and started the night off right as the opening act. Once the stage had cleared after his lively dance pop set, the audience was directed to make a path in the throng of bodies. Gillis came running down the path. Hands grasped desperately to make contact and both girls and boys screamed, �Oh my god! I touched him!� in a giant flashback reminiscent of a concert of Beatles fame.
Attendees of the sold-out show stuffed themselves around and on the stage. Gillis, notorious for his onstage antics, quickly stripped off his sweatshirt and T-shirt, tossing them to the eager audience. The crowd soon followed suit and articles of clothing went flying all over. Gillis really knew how to keep the crowd moving. Getting your dance on was the most important thing; it didn�t matter that the people next to you were strangers, or that you were covered in your own sweat and theirs, or that you probably left with different clothes than you came with.
As the crowd of sweaty, wilted-looking partiers trudged out of the Union and on to their next destination for the night, the smiles on everyone�s faces said it all; people will be talking about this night for a long time.