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Playing to a packed crowd at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel Friday night, Girl Talk captivated the audience by pressing buttons and twisting knobs.

But first, two opening performers provided a counterexample to Girl Talk's appeal. Junk Culture, a duo on drums and a synthesizer, and solo artist Max Tundra took Girl Talk's basic concept of unconventional mash-ups a little further.

Junk Culture's sound was a mix between mashed-up samplings and his own vocals, which ended up sounding like bad karaoke.

Tundra also sang, but, by the time he launched into his rendition of "Single Ladies," it was pretty clear that his set was as much of a joke to him as to the audience.

"He really doesn't have much to do," one audience member remarked. "He's just pressing play." The lack of activity gave him time for some truly bizarre dance moves.

Some audience members danced through both performances, but there was a definite feeling of awkwardness. Many people used the opening sets as a chance to snap pictures in the club's cushioned alcoves.

With Girl Talk about to start, the mood changed palpably. Even before he took to the stage, the crowd gathered toward the front of the packed hall.

Before he came out, Girl Talk had the audience shouting his name, and he kept fans waving their hands and singing along the whole time.

Part of Girl Talk's allure is his production values. The show began with an almost blinding flash of lights, both from spotlights overhead and from a wall of bulbs behind him.

The spectacle kept up for the hour and a half that he was on stage. The crowd was showered with balloons, confetti and water, as toilet paper sprayed out of leaf blowers.

Song choices ranged from accessible pop hits to classics like the Ramones, Bon Jovi and Stevie Wonder to indie darlings like Phoenix. He paired Kelly Clarkson with Lil Wayne, Peter Bjorn and John with Akon.

"This show is already, like, five times as long as the last time I played here," he told the audience shortly before the end. The comment met some of the loudest cheers of the night.

A crowd of audience members brought up from the audience shortly before the beginning of the set danced alongside Girl Talk on the stage. Others tried to get onto the stage later and were turned away by bouncers.

There was some confusion over the finale. The tune of John Lennon's "Imagine" was enhanced with a throbbing bass beat while a shower of balloons rained down from the ceiling.

But in the ensuing silence, most of the audience stayed where they were. No one was sure whether or not they should leave, including the performer.

"We've been trying to end the shows by dumping a bunch of balloons on your head," he said.

"I guess the show's over, but now the after-party can begin," he announced after a moment's hesitation. Then he launched into another 10 minutes of music.



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