Live Review: Girl Talk, teamAWESOME at Fox Theatre

Girl Talk, teamAWESOME Friday, July 11 2008 Fox Theatre Better Than: Keeping some of the best moments of pop music to yourself

Whether up on the highly prized stage next to Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, or down in the filled-to-bursting pit, last night’s show epitomized the sweaty catharsis that everyone basically searches for at a dance concert. Gillis played to the people, and that’s alright with me -- or at least the person I was at the concert: a flailing, fist-pumping fool who sang along with every cheesy rock moment that he wanted me to.

Security seemed to be generally confused and seriously screwed most of the time, fighting between the urge of the crowd to get close to Gillis and the job they were supposed to carry out (not letting people rush the stage, basically). As a result, despite one serious five-minute pause in the music while security hustled people off-stage and kept them there for about ten awkward minutes, about thirty members of the audience were let on stage for the rest of the concert (including me, luckily).

Gillis almost seemed overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the crowd, and kept his banter pretty short, except to exhort people to sing along. The sold-out crowd generally responded well to his request, though I wish they had been there earlier during teamAWESOME’s set, where sing-alongs were encouraged with about the same frequency. AWESOME is a homegrown Boulder band, and a great one to boot, so the audience probably should have skipped the bars (just this once, maybe) and checked it out.

Those who were there witnessed Chuck Potashner, the band’s frontman, show off his magnetic stage presence and the creativity that makes even the most slapped-together (and I mean this in the most positive way: I felt like I was seeing the band become better before my eyes) of his short songs sound interesting and fun. The lyrics are surprisingly dark for such a sunny band, and I imagined the band overall as something like Bright Eyes fronting a disco-punk side project, or 3OH!3 with more seriousness, or a ska band without the stoned aftertaste, or Bowie with a Boulder childhood: basically this guy and his talented bandmates seem to do everything originally and without pretension.

They were a perfect primer for Girl Talk, but the critic in me wishes Gillis had had enough discipline to end the show perfectly on his new record’s closing track “Play Your Part Pt.2” (Gillis has suggested listening to the CD as one whole track, but separating them makes sense too). The track’s finishing mashup of the lighter-waving Journey classic “Faithfully” and the intelligent modern classic (basically one of the top-ten hip-hop tracks I’ve ever heard) “Int’l Player’s Anthem” is just about the perfect soundtrack for finishing anything in your entire life, and it closes out an incredibly awesome show especially well.

Now, I can understand accommodating the crowd’s request for an encore (he’s a man of the people, I know), but even he admitted before playing for about five minutes more that he had just used what he had planned as an encore. Oh well. If Gillis has proved anything with his music, it’s that almost any pop nugget can get a second chance, and the brawny beauty and the ADD innocuousness that such an attitude entails just comes with the territory.

-- James Anthofer

Personal Bias: Seriously, I danced the shit out of that show. I have no idea what it would have been like without that added influence, but luckily most of the crowd didn’t have that problem. Random Detail: Gillis was generous with the Fox-provided Gatorade. Good thing, because a swig of it gave me a (psychological) boost. By The Way: This concert was one of those where the air was so sweaty that you could see it misting around and your skin got wrinkled from it.

"Play Your Part"

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