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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

Girl Talk @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Nov. 4, 2008

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The young crowd at Tuesday's Turner Hall Ballroom Girl Talk appearance was beyond energetic, undoubtedly siphoning energy from the momentous election. As the venue projected the poll returns opposite the stage, scalped tickets sold for $50-$60 outside.

Opener CX Kidtronik's bizarre set of retro-electro rap, which he paired with a photomontage of women in extremely low-cut jeans, established the unorthodox tone of the evening. It was followed by a brief, hostile and befuddling performance from The Death Set, who managed to play only a handful of songs amid great technical confusion onstage.

But even as the crowd nervously awaited poll closures, they were most excited for Girl Talk, the nom de plume of DJ Gregg Gillis, who TheNew York Times Magazine once described as "a lawsuit waiting to happen" because of his refusal to clear any of the hundreds of samples he uses.

Gillis, his lone instrument a reinforced laptop, emerged flanked by a pack of security guards and a paper-gun-toting duo garbed in American-Indian headdresses, before launching into his precisely engineered pastiches of contemporary hip-hop and '70s and '80s pop.

"Whatever happens tonight, we're dead anyway," he exclaimed.

Having scrapped his trademark "in the round" setup because of technical difficulties, Gillis instead invited the crowd onstage to circle him and the perturbed security staff.

As election results poured in across the room, the jubilant crowd grew more and more frenzied while Gillis ran through "Play Your Part" from his latest album, Feed the Animals.

Pausing only once to acknowledge Obama's projected victory, the shirtless, sweat-drenched DJ moved through cuts like the Nine Inch Nails/Kelly Clarkson-sampling "Here's the Thing."

Girl Talk may have been a strange choice to spend the night with during a historic election, but for the overwhelmingly pro-Obama crowd, Gillis delivered a memorable dance party that only heightened the already unforgettable evening.