While I'm not very enthusiastic about his latest record All Day — the surprise factor of the whole wedding-reception-music-mixed-with-gangster-rap thing has worn off for me — Girl Talk (real name: Gregg Gillis) shows have been among my most fun live music experiences. I saw him at Tulane University, at the Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge and at Tipitina's, with each show more crowded and sweatier than its predecessor. His shows really aren't so much shows as they are massive dance parties, which seem to be a natural byproduct of Girl Talk albums. It's pretty much just Gillis and his laptop on stage, the center in a swirl of splashing drinks, sweaty arms and bodies.
For those yet uninitiated into the sweaty Girl Talk cult, here are some tips for how to enjoy the show (or shows, if you're that person) without ending up a flattened, dehydrated corpse in the middle of the House of Blues floor. (However, if you do end up a casualty of the show, Gambit is not responsible.)
1. Be prepared to sweat. I've already used the word "sweat" a million times in this post, so that should be fairly obvious. But I would like to nonetheless reiterate that you will leave this show completely drenched and possibly several pounds lighter. So, this means: don't wear anything that isn't amenable to moisture (no white T-shirt-and-black bra combo, ladies, unless you're that going for that look), apply at least 14 layers of antiperspirant, wear waterproof mascara and eye makeup, don't go with someone who will be offended by the presence of your perspiring, malodorous self (So, maybe not a good place for a first date. Or maybe the best place for a first date!). Also, stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water before the show, and maybe decide to eschew alcohol in favor of a good ol' bottle of Dasani for the night. Oh, what am I saying! Drunk is the only way to be at a Girl Talk show. Just be sure to balance your alcohol intake with that of water.
2. Be prepared for an overwhelming crowd. While many of Girl Talk's fans are the type who very much appreciate the clever mashup of "Holland, 1945" with "There It Go (The Whisper Song)," but are most likely to be seen with a dour expression and folded arms at shows, a Girl Talk show will primarily be populated with scenesters, people on ecstasy, and LSU sorority girls who are here to dance. If you're the type to become hostile at the mere drop of someone else's beer on your arm, this is not the show for you. Sell that ticket on Craigslist, stay home and watch 30 Rock on Netflix Instant Streaming, because the number of drinks spilled on others at a Girl Talk show rivals that of an entire season of Rock of Love Bus. Also, expect to sustain some minor injuries (people bumping into you, kicks in the face from passing crowdsurfers) and to be annoyed at the girl next to you who keeps saying she is "literally having so much fun right now."
3. Don't expect to hear your favorite songs verbatim. What's great about Girl Talk shows is that, as far as the setlist goes, each one is unique. Even if you attend both of his House of Blues gigs, musically, things should be fairly different from one night to the next. Some of the mashups you'll hear can be found on his albums, but Gillis is known for creating new combinations live (Gillis talks about this in his interview with Noah Bonaparte Pais). I think most people appreciate this, but there's also those peculiar folks who spend days before a concert musically cramming with that band or artists' albums, hoping to recognize every song that's played. Just embrace the improvisation.
4. Dance! Seriously, don't be that rigid person who spends the entire show iPhone-ing and looking sad. That is not the purpose of this particular show. Why else did you buy expensive House of Blues tickets before they sold out? You can stand with your arms folded, playing Feed the Animals while holding a sweating Jack and Coke and checking your Twitter feed in your own home. Trust me, the only way you'll enjoy this is if you forget how ridiculous and sweaty you look and get swept up in it all.
Here's some good YouTube documentation of a Girl Talk show: