The Spin: Girl Talk at The Cannery Ballroom, Boy Talk at Mercy Lounge

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Photo by Steve Cross.

More photos from the Girl Talk show at nashvillescene.com. Photos from Boy Talk III at Mercy Lounge are here.

To no one’s surprise, we arrived at Cannery Row last night to find ourselves at the end of a long line stretching all the way back to the paid parking lot next door. Assuming that surely the press is entitled to some sort of privilege in these situations, we muscled our way to the front to snag our credentials and weasel our way inside.

Once in, we had just enough time to grab a beer before Baltimore’s The Death Set came out to engage the crowd in a little pre-show hype. It was literally an instant party from the moment their rapid visuals popped on the screen to a recording of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” The group launched full force into a rapid fire set of short, sweet, and sloppy hyper-melodic electro punk, letting up only for short interludes of Prince and Michael Jackson MP3s in between. All the while, the long line outside was filtering through the doors ensuring it’d be a night of trampled shoes, elbowed torsos and a whole lot of college kids trying way too hard to be college kids.

When Girl Talk finally unleashed the first snippet in a series of thousands to come, he had a full house incredibly eager to get down. For all that Greg Gillis lacks in traditional musicianship, he definitely makes an effort to compensate for in his live show. In lieu of guitar amps and spinning drum sticks, we got animated visuals, streaming toilet paper guns, confetti, and a few dozen audience members getting buck wild on stage.

Momentum, however, was halted almost as soon as it started when, 40 minutes in, the house lights came on and the music faded out. A distorted and unintelligible explanation was offered by Gillis via microphone as a sold-out room of drunken youngster displayed an impressive degree of patience—waiting a good 20 minutes for things to get back under way. The party soon snapped back into full force with a shirtless, head-banded Gillis literally dripping with sweat mixing up snippets and samples of warped beats, top 40 pop hits, dance anthems, indie classics, classic rock flashbacks and '80s guilty pleasures, occasionally grabbing the mic to lead the crowd in some between-song hype.

With his show at Cannery last year being our only frame of reference, we expected again to hear a randomized shuffle of MP3s from his records, but what we got this time was hardly the same. Familiar phrases from his last three offerings were present, but this time mixed and cut with alternate rhythms and sequences which kind of—unlike with most “real bands”—hoping for a live album someday.

Perhaps this party got a little too crazy or the bass a little too thumpin’ for the venue’s infrastructure to handle. At the very peak of the action, a water line burst under the stage, bringing the whole ordeal to a crashing close. For most, it was an irrecoverable buzzkill, but for a good many of legal drinking age there was thankfully an equally indefatigable after party waiting upstairs.

Club Sportag's Boy Talk featured DJs Justin Kase and members of Jensen Sportag keeping the momentum up 'til closing time, blasting hyper-kinetic dance beats, laser laser lights, and psychedelic visuals until everyone was booted into the street once and for all.

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