Looking back on this beautiful weekend spent in Pensacola at DeLuna Fest 2011, I have a lot of bedazzling memories. Framed by the emerald gulf, DeLuna Fest’s crown jewel was Girl Talk. Pittsburg native Greg Gillis, also known as Girl Talk, left an engineering job to pursue a career in music.
It is rare that I say that the world is better off with one less biomedical engineer, but trust me, we are.
The second stage was a monolith on the shore. During the still air of sound check, the hazy stage was bare with the exception of an enigmatic DJ booth. To call this a mashup act is unfair. To call this laptop based act anything less than a musical Cirque du Soleil is unfair. After quite a crowd had gathered, roadies distributed 52 playing cards to 52 lucky audience members (read: the hottest girls there). A barely distinguishable mantra of glitchy sounds evolved into a chant. Girl Talk. Girl Talk. Girl Talk.
There was a vaguely religious feel to it, but trust me, it was pretty vague.
People sprinted to the stage, I couldn’t see the end of the people. This was a huge venue. I’m sure there were thousands of people on the beach. You couldn’t scratch your nose without bumping three other people.
Gillis sprinted on stage. He looked like a hippie playing in the NBA finals. After box jumping on to the 48 inch DJ Booth, he let out a primal yell. The bass dropped. “Bass” is a term usually left to describe deep musical tones. This vibrated my nostrils. It was hard to breathe. I’m sure the show was close to 100db and the bass was near the limit of human hearing. The sound was never muddy.
Gillis weaved thousands of samples both from his previous records and showcased several never-before-heard mixes. I constantly thought, “this could not become more ridiculous”, and I was wrong every time. A combination of Gillis’s non-stop full-throttle music combined with the rest of the show kept my jaw open. There was a spring-powered teenage Asian girl wearing a dress (read: XXXL NBA Jersey) spraying toilet paper out of a leaf blower then later firing a giant hose onto the audience through a series of squirrel fans. There was some volume of confetti. They didn’t make it rain confetti. It was more like Norse gods of winter brought a blizzard to the beach.
It was amazing. If you can only see one show in your life, you must see Girl Talk. There are no excuses not to see Girl Talk. If not for his totally explosive, totally illegal music, then go just for the spectacle. Greg Gillis’s performance is endearing. He strikes me as the kind of person that played pots and pans as a child. Plenty of people do that, but most of them don’t grow up to have a job that includes them sailing an inflatable raft over their audience.
After the set, my fellow Cluster writers, Eric Brown and Liz Bibb assembled in the aftermath.
The three of us glared into space with mouths agape for no less than 10 minutes, occasionally uttering “Wow, just, wow”.