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Girl Talk goes with the flow and throws the (Block) party of the year at B1

Chris Collum | Monday, August 29, 2011

Pittsburgh mash-up artist Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis) seemed a logical selection to headline an event marketed as the “Biggest Party of the Year.” Walk into any Notre Dame dorm room party, and within thirty minutes it’s almost guaranteed that you will hear some sort of mash-up. Last school year, Legends brought two different mash-up artists to campus — Super Mash Bros. and The White Panda. We just love to hear the latest Top 40 hook remixed over a classic rock anthem, for one reason or another.

However, blaring mash-ups from speakers in a crowded dorm room is a different proposition entirely than paying to see what seems to be a man with just a bandana and a laptop flail about on stage for an hour and a half. Sure, students brought on stage to dance and occasional releases of balloons or huge fluorescent balls spiced things up, but in reality the energy of the show inevitably depended upon the crowd.

And the crowd certainly responded well to Girl Talk.

The best way to think about this event is indeed less as a concert and more as a party. In that light, Girl Talk was a huge success. His light show set the perfect party atmosphere, and having about twenty or so students on stage dancing helped add to that feeling. Musically, his party was exactly what is to be expected — spot-on mash-ups, some drawn from his five full-length releases, but most put together on the spot by the man himself.

One of the most intriguing things about Girl Talk’s music is the variety of songs that he selects to sample. His work serves as an effective amalgamation and blending of diverse genres and styles in a way that is more seamless than one would think possible.  The end result is something close to a universal popular music experience — pop in overdrive mode, if you will.

He began his show Saturday night with a mash-up similar to the one that begins his 2010 album “All Day,” combining Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” with Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Ludacris’ “Move B—-.” Other notable odd-couple pairings throughout the course of the show included Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money” with Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start,” The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” with Pitbull’s “Hotel Room Service” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” with an unidentifiable Waka Flocka Flame song.

However, the hook that got the most recognition from the crowd was undoubtedly Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer,” proving once again that Bon Jovi is definitely something Notre Dame students like. Maybe Bob Kessler does know a thing or two about us.

Girl Talk kept the crowd’s attention for nearly 90 minutes with his energy and tenacity, the perfect amount of time for such a performance. A show any longer may have gotten a bit stale. But as it was, the man did his magic on stage, we went wild and a great time was had by all.