Celebrations yesterday in Pittsburgh as the city council officially declared December 7 “Gregg Gillis Day,” honoring hometown favorite Girl Talk. Can’t say I really know anything about Girl Talk; I’ve only listened to a few of his songs and I usually only read about him in the context of copyright discussions: sampling, fair use, free distribution, etc; what Girl Talk’s doing right when so many others have the shit sued out of them, that kind of thing.
Still, I guess the kids like him, and it’s good news for Pittsburgh, a city not widely known for its music scene. Girl Talk, along with Wiz Khalifa and a few others, however, may have (re-?)legitimized Pittsburgh. As the Pittsburgh City Paper reports, both will be playing the new, 2400-seat Stage AE venue, and Gillis sounds pretty excited about supporting the local scene.
I’ve been thinking about Pittsburgh for a while now: how it’s due for a musical renaissance of sorts akin to Baltimore’s; an old rust-belt city, heavily blue-collar, inexpensive, with an otherwise strong arts scene and some renowned universities. Sound familiar? They’re certainly more isolated than we are (we’re fortunate to be so close to D.C., Philly, and New York), but at least they’re not losing shows to anyone either (fuck you 9:30 Club!). Local music needs non-local music to keep it working: they need the draw of national-acts, both to keep good quality venues open and to promote local bands. There’re only so many shows you can play in your friend’s basement if you ever want to make it. You need the opportunity to open for a band whose last album sold a couple hundred thousand copies or who just played Letterman last week. So, congratulations Pittsburgh. Keep it rollin’.