Yes, Girl Talk's recent sold-out show at Gravity Nightclub in Cheswick was a grand victory lap for a local artist who's worked his balls off for years, and whose oddball audio obsessions have blossomed into a substantial mainstream following this year. Some found it bizarre, but for most it seemed cool to see hordes of suburban youngsters in aggressively stupid clothes swarming a seedy, bunker-like roller rink to hear music that was, until fairly recently, local and underground. And the non-stop Steelers-themed videos, toilet-paper blowers and black-and-gold balloon drop lent a nice "he can't be fucking serious" touch.
But if you've followed Girl Talk's career, all that seemed inevitable at this point -- more of an eye-opener was watching Pittsburgh hip-hop heroes Grand Buffet totally own the big stage on their opening set, and work the crowd up to a fever pitch. A nice change-up from the last show I caught, when Lord Grunge celebrated his 30th birthday at 31st Street Pub by threatening to kill himself (in jest, apparently, though it was a bit unclear at the time). At Cheswick, he and Jackson were more confident and in synch with each other than I'd seen before, filling the space between songs with nonsensical one-liners that worked as a seamless extension of their skewed lyrics.
With all due respect to Grand Buffet's current label, Fighting Records, can someone hurry up and make these dudes famous already? With the thousands and thousands who've seen them open for Girl Talk on his fall tour, the time is ripe to for them to land a bigger audience. And some of that "cream-cheese money" they keep going on about.
Speaking of locals gaining an audience, you don't have to tour with Girl Talk, but you probably have to do something. Performing at a music conference won't likely result in overnight fame, but with a little hustle, you can make some music-industry contacts and beef up your resume. For some reason, Pittsburgh doesn't have one, and Cleveland's installment of the CMJ Fest franchise seems to have fallen off as well. The closest option is to hit Harrisburg from Feb. 12-18 for the Millennium Music Conference. Now in its 13th year, the small conference offers four nights of music showcases, and two days of "music-business keynotes, panels, clinics, workshops, mentoring and demo-listening sessions and trade show."
So why am I telling you about it now? Because this is your last chance to apply for a showcase slot -- the deadline for press-kit submissions is Mon., Dec. 8. Visit www.musicconference.net for details.