The Grove Festival: Girl Talk

I tip my hat to the event planners who had the foresight to put Girl Talk on before Hot Chip, who played before Phoenix. The three of them were a proper jab-hook-uppercut combo that bowled us all over. Girl Talk…There are not a lot of curtains to pull back here, so-to-speak. No insights that one cannot deduce for themselves if they’ve heard even just one of Gregg Gillis’ tracks. You could play 30secs if any of his mixes to a stranger on the street who seemingly has no understanding of what’s hip, ask them three words to describe what they think his concert might be like, and they would be right. It’s like this: the songs sound the exact same, but instead enjoying it in your living room that’s the size of a hamster ball, it an entire square city block of sound. Bigger IS better. Always.


As I fear giving you a redundant perspective, I’m going to take an editorial risk here, and attempt to explain the concert as it banked off of my friend Amy who was standing beside me. It’s like this: I’m actually reviewing my friend Amy watching the concert, instead of reviewing the concert itself. It’s Girl Talk through an ‘Amy’ filter. Got it? Are we clear? A postmodern concert review? I don’t think anything would make Girl Talk happier.

First off you should know that my friend Amy and her better half Grant are easily the most decorated concert soldiers I know, which even if I was trying to be humble, is incredible. They have seen so many bands, have collected so many tickets stubs, seen so many venues, and in the specific case of Grant, bought a gazillion concert tees. Seriously. He had a tee for almost every band that played the festival, and he changed them as the bands changed to show his fandom. (I tip my hat to YOU, Sir.)

“Holy sh*t, write that down,” Amy says. She’s doing her condensed booty shake which means she’s feeling it, and wants to move so badly that only small movements will guarantee she moves enough. She’s points to the stage, “MJ’s Do You Remember vs. Daft Punk’s Get Lucky! That’s new. Sh*******t.” She continues to move. She looks at me again and this time taps my notebook. “Write it down.”

Girl Talk has revolutionized the mixed tape. I don’t think anyone can dispute that. Who else do you know who can mix like he can? Nobody. Maybe your mother, but we don’t know who she is. “Look at him go!” Amy’s screaming because Gillis has removed his soaked white t-shirt and is swinging it above his head. She turns to me, “He’s like a little DJ Ninja.” I look up to the stage and sure enough he’s making exaggerated Bruce Lee gestures.

Every DJ has his own dance persona. Some of them favour a simple fist pump, others make hands like they’re begging for justice while jumping up and down, not to mention the ever elusion no-dance-at-all which makes you believe the DJ doesn’t even know the crowd is there. Girl Talk is a full extension kind of guy. Finger tips, to pointed toes, he explores the full breath of bodily expression. Amy giggles, and then smiles affectionately. “Ahh, that’s adorable.”

The stage is flooded with people pulled from the crowd, and I would wager his entire entourage. Honestly though, thousands of people around us are having the best dance party of their lives “Lindsay, my mind is exploding right now. Aren’t you dying?! This is so awesome.” As the set progresses, the bulkier dudes up front who at first were dominating the stage are beginning to run out of steam. “Uh, oh. Some of them are slowing down,” she says, and raises her eyebrows in concern. She nods towards the pixie-sized girls with fairy wings who are covered in body paint. “At least we know some of them are going to make it.”

I can tell you who did make it. Amy. As Girl Talk’s last climactic beats echoed through the park, Gillis raised his hand as if the salute the drifting notes as they sailed away. Amy closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, then turned to me again. “Bathroom then beer.”

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