Big Event 2009: What you should know

Alex Schaaf

The day has finally come. After months of speculation, false starts – Third Eye Blind – and arguments, the Big Event of 2009 is upon us. Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, will be performing in the rec. center Monday, May 4. Oh yeah, and Reel Big Fish is playing.
Now, we all know that this event has been one of the most hotly contested of the year. However passionate students are about convocations and biology lectures, nothing else matches the kind of conversation and intrigue sparked by the selection of this year’s Big Event.
After the initial choice of Third Eye Blind was made public, many were outraged that all of this money was going to a band that we had left behind with the rest of middle school. Thankfully, the final selection ended up being a much more modern, currently relevant choice. Oh yeah, and Reel Big Fish.
First let us talk about Reel Big Fish. It is easy to laugh them off as a novelty act. But when you think about it, they are a pretty solid choice for an opening band. What do we want in an opening act? We want something that will pump up the crowd and get them in the right mood for the dance party that will be the headlining event.
Being an opening act is a tough gig: The crowd does not care who you are; they just want you to stop playing so they can see the headliner. They are not prepared to invest a lot of attention or thought into you. With this in mind, I feel like Reel Big Fish will be a great opener: they have undeniably catchy songs which do not take much investment to enjoy, they can be paid attention to as much or as little as you would like, and they will definitely increase the energy level of the room. Hell, this band was in the movie “BASEketball.”
Now we move on to the main event: Girl Talk. If there ever was an act that was difficult to explain to someone who had never heard of it, it was Girl Talk. If you have not tried explaining to an older relative what Gillis does or why it is considered “original,” you should give it a shot – it is an interesting challenge.
Here’s what I usually say: He’s a one-man band who uses a laptop to mix together samples from hundreds of songs to create never-before-heard combinations of music and vocals, like putting Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” over The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.” The live shows operate on a sense of shared memory, as the audience collectively recognizes the samples and relives the past together, while enjoying the dance party that is Girl Talk.
The main thing to know for the Big Event is this: You have got to move, people. This is not Edgar Meyer. There is a reason this is not being held in the chapel or in Stansbury: Seats would do more harm than good. You do not sit and watch Girl Talk, pondering over the ramifications of his musical appropriations and quotations as pertaining to 20th-century tonal music.
To me, Girl Talk is not music to be thought about, it is music to be enjoyed in the moment. Sure, you can pore over the songs and point out every song that is being sampled, as many people have already done on Wikipedia. But when you are actually at a Girl Talk show, you have just got to treat it as a party and have a good time.
One puzzling move by the Big Event Committee was the “dance-off” that occurred this past week, determining who would be allowed on stage during Girl Talk. One of the signature aspects of a Girl Talk show is that Gillis is surrounded on stage by audience members, swarming all around him while he does his work.
Usually this happens naturally, with people rotating on and off the stage, giving everyone a chance to get up close. But now it seems that you will have to be prescreened to be allowed on stage. I am hesitant to pass judgment on this before I see how it works out in reality, but it does not seem like the best idea. I certainly do not want to be watching the same people up on stage the entire night, let alone not be allowed to go on stage.
In conclusion, I hope that this is not being too preachy. You are allowed to dislike Girl Talk; you are allowed to not attend. All I am trying to say is that if you do attend, you have got to have the right attitude, or this could be the Awkward Event of 2009.
But then again, this is Lawrence, so maybe that would mean it was the Best Event of 2009. Show up to see the outcome! The doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets are available at the box office for $5.