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Girl Talk Mashes Toad's Place

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"This is my first show on planet Marsville," yelled Girl Talk, setting the tone for the freewheeling series of mash-ups he was about to perform.

Even a stiff-ass bouncer took out his camera phone to snap a few quick pictures of the club kids, covered in glitter and wielding glow sticks from stage to dance floor, balcony to risers and everywhere else. You know those music videos where everyone in the crowd is painfully young, sexy, hip and barely dressed? Well, there you have Toad's Place this past Friday, May 2, for Girl Talk.

This was the first time I saw Toad's Place resemble a legit club, its floor boards rattled by bass and a crowd which kept jumping -- literally -- for the duration of the night.

And what were they jumping to exactly? Notorious B.I.G. verses pasted over top of "Tiny Dancer," with Elton John sped up to an Alvin & The Chipmunks vocal pitch; The Band's "The Weight" chopped and rephrased behind "My Drink N' My 2 Step," by Cassidy.

Girl Talk is often described not as a DJ, but as a sound collagist, snipping up popular songs into little pieces and tossing the bits into a hopper, where who-knows-what comes out the other end. Samples of popular music are used to create songs which often feel as if you're listening to several people frantically surf through the entire spectrum of a radio's FM dial. Somehow, miraculously, all the different songs string together into a dance-friendly wild-eyed beast.

At Toad's Place, Girl Talk's constant stream of sample hopping created a unique environment. With a 100 or more people on stage at any given time, and a second DJ booth situated discretely on the balcony, Girl Talk was able to stop playing altogether, allowing other DJs to take up the party under his stylistic banner. The crowd didn't seem to notice the switch between entertainers, dancing long past the headliner's retreat.

While this was a sneaky trick, and many folks missed Girl Talk's exit, it proves that people were just looking for a good time.

And a good time was more than present hours after the DJs silent bow-out, illustrating that anyone can sample and mash pop-tracks like Girl Talk, but it takes his special touch to pack the house and raise the energy into a circus of lost inhibition and sweat-covered glee.

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