Girl Talk get it right
Last Friday, crowds packed into Studio B to see the NYC return of laptop mashup extraordinaire Girl Talk deliver his most satisfying local set to date. 90 minutes of ADD jamz that kept the capacity crowd moving the entire time. This might sound odd, the best parts of a Girl Talk set are the mixes that don't work perfectly. They're few and far between, but sometimes two songs just don't work together. The remarkable feat is that Gillis is able to quickly realize this and seamlessly correct it right there. It's a reminder that he's not just pressing a button and letting the whole set roll, but is actually constructing these mashups on the fly. Nothing made this clearer than when after trying and failing to somehow successfully mix JT's 'My Love' with a variety of songs, finally hitting gold by matching it with the oh so timeless 'Whoop, There it is.' Ever so subtle, the trial and error made the end result that much more rewarding. Getting a peak inside how his head functions in real time gives an added sense of legitimacy to what is an already amazing performance. (Pic via Ben Shapiro's flickr)
Grammys not as bad as most would lead you to believe.
The Liveblogs were particularly harsh on the awards show, but watching it without feeling the need for ongoing commentary must make the show feel smoother. Status Aint Hood, which has become an absolute must read of late, said it best. The Grammys best reflects what the music industry wants us to believe happened in the last year, not what actually happened. So long as you don't take it too seriously or think too deeply about who is winning or what is being honored, it's a perfectly entertaining way to spend a Sunday evening. Most of the performances were quite good, and that's really what the spectacle is all about. If you were looking for some sort of light-bulb-going-off revelation for the music industry, chances are you were disappointed, tho that couldn't have been a real surprise. If you're impressed by hearing Mary J. Blige sing once a year, maybe it was ok.
Plug Awards, in Contrast...
Maybe it was easier to appreciate the Grammys after attending the Plug Awards at Irving Plaza the night before. It is not easy to pull off a 4 hour awards show, be it in front of 1000 people or 10 million people. David Cross nailed the mood throughout the night when he came out after a botched iPod battle segment saying "It all looked great on paper." It did. Plug, in it's now third year as an awards show, had far and away the best lineup they've been able to wrangle up so far. Two acts that have previously been able to fill the venue themselves (Deerhoof and Stephen Malkmus) to two of the most popular up and coming indie acts (Tokyo Police Club and Silversun Pickups) and one of the most respected underground hip-hop acts around (El-P). In hindsight, there was really very little to complain about, seeing that for a $10 you got solid sets from some all five excellent bands. Where the show slipped was the between act segments that weren't nearly as effective as the planners must have hoped. Fortunately, Cross excelled at poking fun at the show he was hosting by acknowledging the faults. It wouldn't be an indie rock awards show without a lil self loathing, right? In this way, the differences between the Mainstream and Indie music worlds could not have seemed more separate. Where the Grammys stretched reality to appear bigger and better than it really is, PLUG embraced it's flaws and shortcomings and made the most what they had to work with. Nobody wants absolute perfection when you're appealing to the DIY crowd. It was, in fact, this quality that made PLUG a modest success. (pic via Daniella Zalcman's flickr)
The Arcade Something?
There's been enough about these fellas around here recently. Lets just say that we're not above standing outside the church for a few hours tonight for a chance to get in at the door and see them again. A bit random, but just because it was one of the best sets of music we've ever, ever, ever experienced, here's a video clip of their performance from Coachella two years ago. It makes us warmer just watching it. Hope to see you all at the church tonight.
And check out last night's in-audience encore.