December 31 (sold out)
Doors open at 8 p.m.
New Year’s Eve, with its heady mix of nostalgia, carpe diem and hopes for the future, seems the perfect night to spend with Pittsburgh native and internationally acclaimed maestro of the mash-up Girl Talk (along with several thousand of his closest friends).
Née Gregg Michael Gillis in Pittsburgh in 1981, the hometown star (who attended Chartiers Valley High School) will kick off 2015 with his signature performative style at the Millvale church-turned-rock club. Those lucky enough to snag tickets to the sold-out show will be treated to Gillis’ high-octane does of mashups and digital sampling. Gillis’ hands-on spectacle-like appearances, which seem to take the form of ritualistic celebrations for fans, are known to employ a crew of stage hands who launch confetti, balloons, toilet paper and various wacky props into the audience.
For his latest musical endeavor, Girl Talk has teamed up with acclaimed Philly rapper Freeway. Released in April of 2014, the collaborative EP, Broken Ankles, features contributions from Waka Flocka Flame, Young Chris and Jadakiss. The duo is also currently collaborating on a series of new music videos.
Eschewing guitars and drum kits and armed with a laptop and software, Girl Talk is the reigning poster child for 21st-century fair use debates and sample culture. Crafting an infectious twist on the classic remix genre, Gillis often incorporates more than a dozen unauthorized samples from different songs to create new compositions. While studying biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve, Gillis specialized in tissue engineering, which seems an apt scientific parallel to his creative process. With a career that already spans 10-plus years of sample-obsessed production and relentless touring, Girl Talk has released five LPs on the label Illegal Art label.
His densely layered and meticulously composed 2010 album, All Day, clocks in at 71 minutes and 372 samples. An epic pop collage, the album features a diverse range of samples, extreme cut-ups, wild dynamics, and a vast assortment of appropriated melodies juxtaposed with unrecognizable fragments. Gillis made the record available as a free download, reflecting his democratic approach to music dissemination and file sharing, and bonding him with his growing fan base.
On screen, Gillis’ creative process appeared as the ideal case study for fair use in Brett Gaylor’s informative 2008 film, RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, a rallying call for revamping existing copyright laws. In 2007, Gillis received Wired magazine’s Rave Award, and his albums Night Ripper and Feed the Animals received acclaimed from Time, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.