Girl Talk – Showbox SoDoPosted by Kat Taylor
Girl Talk is doing everything DJs should be doing. The time to worship anyone with two turntables and a Mastercard has long passed. Even the average DJ with reasonably good mixing skills can’t hold a candle to the quick-change, adrenaline-fueled mashups that put Girl Talk on the map. Although he wasn’t doing anything new when he got his start with Secret Diary in 2002, he quickly rose to the top of a roiling stew of viral pop music mashups that haunted every file-sharing program and seeped their way into our music collections.
You can’t blame a person for searching for Basement Jaxx, Journey, Cyndi Lauper, and Black Sabbath, feeling somewhat nostalgic for a previous (perhaps more innocent, perhaps less) life, and walking away happily with their friendly familiar ear candy set to a hard-hitting bassline from a top-40 jam. While we crave what’s new and exciting, part of our brains still respond gratefully to the comfort of the familiar, even the sounds we would have chased off the radio 10 years ago if we could have.
In the wake of releasing All Day last year, Girl Talk came barreling through Seattle for a Tuesday night show. He sold out the Showbox SoDo, finding us rain-soaked audiophiles are suckers for this stuff, so he played a second show on Wednesday. Filling the stage with party people and a brilliant LED light show, he took the mic and jumped on the decks at carefully calculated intervals, which had the crowd going nuts. Most notably, the lit-up stage featured tacos, coffee, and dinosaurs… all very good things.
Falling in step with the jumpy, ADD-addled mashup style, lights, noise, and dancing weren’t enough. Everyone in front of the sound booth got a head full of confetti and a barrage of balloons to bat around the room. While it should have been a legally mandated order for audience members to be dancing, perhaps music like this has conditioned a new kind of wired in which the most hardcore members need something to do for the millisecond between lifting their feet and placing them back on the ground.
The opening act, Max Tundra, came with an arsenal of instruments including synthesizers, guitars, and a the kind of plastic recorder flute that was a rite of passage for music class students of the 80s. Producing a primarily electronic, sometimes 8-bit poppy sound, he has done remix work for Kid606 and Franz Ferdinand and previously toured with Hot Chip. His erratic jumping around his stockpile of equipment coupled with his periodic operatic gestures while performing vocals were reminiscent of Bjork’s kooky stage presence. Both tirelessly pay tribute to the vibrant unpredictability of experimental music genres, both live across the pond, but only one likes to close a set with a sped-up, blippy version of “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music.
The show ended on the early side, at 11:15, but thanks to the characteristic series of finales, the audience got a good deal. Girl Talk saved the best for the second-to-last with John Lennon’s “Imagine” and more concert shrapnel falling from above. If you knew the words, you were singing them, and if you didn’t, you were pretending, and if you couldn’t, you were smiling. No matter when you got there or when you left, you can honestly say you went to one of the feel-good shows of the decade.
This concert-goer in particular could have grown a flip-open head and horse teeth with the size of my grin. I managed to park the Barbie Dream Hearse outside the venue for the entire duration of the show without getting ticketed, towed, or treacherously tampered with. Must be the luck o’ the Irish securely tied to my grill that warded off the demons of SoDo. Happy St. Patty’s Day indeed!