From left, Girl Talk, Dan Deacon, performing at earlier shows.Photo: Briana E. Heard / Retna, Zandy Mangold / Retna
It was unclear who was performing at Webster Hall on Saturday night. Girl Talk was the headliner, but we spent most of the show staring at the undulating mass of fans onstage. It was a miracle that Greg Gillis could even see his laptop’s screen while being pig-piled by tank-top-wearing twentysomethings; a single broad-shouldered bouncer was on hand to pitch unruly dancers back into the crowd, but he couldn’t prevent one overeager fan from knocking out Gillis’s audio cable at least a few times during the hour-long performance.
Luckily, the awkward pauses didn’t upset the rhythm of an already schizophrenic playlist, and after Gillis finished crowd-surfing and stripped off his sweatshirt, the tempo began to pick up; by the end of his set, he was speeding from Earth, Wind & Fire to T.I., Kelly Clarkson, and the Smashing Pumpkins without so much as looking up from his laptop. Yes, he mashed “Tiny Dancer” and “Juicy.” And no, he didn’t get naked — probably because he didn’t have enough elbow room to do so. Past, lesser-attended shows have seen Gillis cavorting with his onstage fans, but Saturday’s huge turnout rendered such intimate antics impossible. Apparently, when it comes to Girl Talk, less is more. (Check out NYMag.com’s exclusive video of such an earlier Girl Talk show.)
Dan Deacon had fewer problems with fans hogging the spotlight — he performed his pre–Girl Talk set from a ground-level spot in the crowd, letting the audience overrun the stage behind him. The performer-viewer dynamics got even trickier here, so suffice to say that the portly Baltimore D.J. was mostly successful in his attempt to get his followers to crouch on the ground at the end of his set, thus allowing for the screen-projection of the last song’s lyrics. He did, however, have to contend with the flagging power on his iPod, which had to be plugged in midway through the show. It’s a little disconcerting to realize that an uncharged Apple battery or a poorly placed AV cord can bring a show to a halt. Maybe the attendees at the Bowery show immediately afterward had better luck. Somehow, we doubt it. —Alex LittlefieldGirl Talk and Dan Deacon Overcome Technical Difficulties, Onstage Claustrophobia