Last Night: Girl Talk and Deerhunter at Culture Room

Categories: Concert Review
Girl Talk 009.jpg
John Hood

Girl Talk and Deerhunter
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale

Better Than: Throwing your own party.

To even try to guess which songs Girl Talk was mashing-up at any given time last night would've been an exercise in utter futility. I mean, before I figured out one another would come along, then another, ad infinitum. Add the fact that each fraction of a track mashes with up to ten others, and that exercise would've become a downright chore. And who the hell wants to work through a party?

Not me, that's for sure. And certainly not any of Girl Talk's sold-out Culture Room crowd either.

Girl Talk is of course Greg Gillis, the laptop wielding wild man whose knowledge and use of pop music is as vast as it is rabid. Gillis has described Girl Talk live as "a mix between a house party and a rock show," and it truly is as simple as that: all your best friends up on stage shaking their asses under a roaring light.

That interaction has become an integral part of Girl Talk's show, and by now everybody knows to jump right on up the minute Gillis appears. It's also a perfect way not just to blur the boundaries between "star" and "fan," but to obliterate them.

And yes, it's just the way to get a party started right. Immediately, Gillis makes everyone feel as if they're in on the action, and the action gets upped exponentially.

Working what must've been the whole of his latest longplayer, Feed the Animals, as well as much of the best of his breakout LP, Night Ripper, Girl Talk gave as good as he got - and then some. And if the party people got mixed-up between Fergie and Juicy and Lil Wayne and Quiet Riot and Nirvana and Jay-Z and Chicago and the Chili Peppers and Queen, well, I couldn't tell. And the way they were losing themselves, both onstage and off, it wouldn't have mattered a bit if they did.

Atlanta's Deerhunter opened the evening, an incongruity that would've meant a lot less had not the lads been so damned earnest. Rumor has it that Bradford Cox used to be a rather mad front man and no one quite ever knew what to expect from a Deerhunter show. But these days he and his colleagues seem more intent on paying aural homage to Sonic Youth and adopting the indifferent pose of way too many indie bands.

Listen, Deerhunter has made some great music over the years (like, for instance, "Nothing Ever Happened"), but I would've been just as content hearing it streamed through my VAIO. This way I could appreciate its nuance and not have to bear witness to such dour seriousness.

It's ironic that the cat with the computer was more alive than the live band, but such is this 21st century. Everything and everyone is up on end.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: As my New Times interview indicates, Girl Talk is extremely generous - with his time and with his stage. And last night his generosity was in great abundance.

Random Detail: Gillis kept his shirt on for almost four songs, which for him has gotta be a record.

By the Way: If you hit The Hype Machine, you can hear more Girl Talk than you could ever hope for.


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