TUL's Take: Girl Talk @ Ottobar
Let's just say that if Vegas took bets on expectations, I wouldn't be sitting at my cubicle right now. After being completely underwhelmed at Studio B, I downright knew that this show would be much, much better than the one in Brooklyn, mostly for these reasons:
1) Smaller venue (450 person capacity compared to ~1000)
2) Better openers (Cex, Dan Deacon)
3) Cheaper drinks ($3.50 for vodka/tonics!)
4) Better crowd (or so I initially thought)
Turns out I was right about at least three of those mentioned four (more on that later). Before we went to The Ottobar, we grabbed dinner at nearby Paper Moon Diner based on recommendations from a few people. The food wasn't bad put it took forever for our order to arrive. Fortunately, the mashed potatoes and gravy that accompanied our turkey dinner made up for the pretty long wait (c'mon, we all know diner food should take no longer than 30 minutes to cook).
When we got to the Ottobar we were able to secure ourselves an excellent viewing position from the balcony for Baltimore's own Cex. His performance was certainly one of the most unique we've seen at a show in quite some time (at least until Dan Deacon, that is). He introduced himself to the crowed by wheeling himself onto the stage via his wheelchair and performed his material by the touch of a laptop. During his set, Cex would mouth the words to the samples employed in his music while slowly teasing the crowd that he could leave the confines of his wheeled transport. By the end of his show, Cex ultimately wound up shirtless and dove into the crowd during the finale. Overall, it was definitely different but crowd-pleasing at the same time.
Next up was the man who I personally believe stole the show, Dan Deacon. Also a Bmore local, Dan Deacon performed all of his material not from the stage, but down on the floor with the crowd. His setup consisted of a few keyboards, a strobe-illuminated green skull, and a microphone. I've never heard any of his material prior to Friday night, but his performance was one of the most captivating things I've witnessed at a show in I don't know how long. The dude can outright perform. The crowd was completely into Deacon's electronic spaz pop from the very beginning and never let up. Donned in thick rims and a Fred Flintstone tee, Dan's material consisted mostly from his upcoming LP, Spiderman of the Rings. He closed his outstanding set with the ten minute long "Wham City" by tossing lyric sheets out to the crowd so that they could sing along to the song's childlike chorus. Anyway, The Upstate Life was completely floored away by Deacon's performance and will probably checkout out his show at the Rock and Roll Hotel on May 10.
At around 12:30am, Gregg Gillis took the stage in his sweatshirt hoodie and high-tops much to the delight of the sold-out crowd. We left our prime viewing spot in the balcony so that we could make our way down to the main floor for some hot, sweaty dance action. Seriously, the ceiling was dripping from how fucking hot it was in there. Couple that with all the spilt drinks on the floor and it quickly reminds you of one of Studio B's bathrooms. Girl Talk's set was very impressive but somehow we once again felt like we were in the minority due to being at the older side of the age spectrum. A lot of hands marked with X's were present Friday night (as exhibited in the pics below), so naturally we had to deal with more than a handful of obnoxious girls who thought they were cool as shit when they got to have their two minutes of fame by making it onstage. Newsflash - everyone was on the fucking stage. Anyway, midway through Girl Talk's set, Gregg professed how much he was looking forward to the Baltimore date since he looked up to guys like Cex and Dan Deacon as inspiration and informed the crowd that there's a ton of cool shit going on in Bmore. He was absolutely right as we were right smack in the middle of it in the Ottobar's humid atmosphere until nearly 2 in the morning. For the ticket price of $14, we certainly got our money's worth. Now if Vegas would get their ass in gear and start taking wagers on my concert potential-predicting skills, we'd be all set.