Live Review: Yelle
December 5, 2011, The Loft, Atlanta
by Jenni Lynne Rowell
Truth be told, I had not been to The Loft in Atlanta since I saw Nouvelle Vague nearly two years ago. I remembered being one of not very many, but it seemed more sincere that way. There is something to be said about a crowd of 75-100; they are there because they want to be. Tonight was not much different. I was there on a cool evening on the brink of seasonal change to see yet another imported French act, Yelle.
After parking my car for free in the usual place and praying that it would be safe and without boots of any sort, upon my return, I walked toward The Loft thinking of my DVR and chocolate chip cookies awaiting me at home.
Some of you may be wondering if I am ever excited about concerts of any sort and you’ll have to take my word that I am. Thus far, it appears that I dread nearly every evening I am scheduled to spend in any venue watching any band. But, just understand that I was particularly influenced by my lack of sleep the nights prior – which is why I have the sound engineer to thank for playing YYY’s “Fever to Tell” to ready/busy the crowd before Yelle’s arrival on stage.
It was just after “Tick” began that I saw a signal from someone off stage to the engineer and then the lights dimmed. The modest crowd cheered enthusiastically and suddenly two men appeared at the left and right of the stage dressed as bee-keepers. They drummed and drummed and kept their respective beats rather well for nearly a minute or so. A third spotlight revealed Yelle, Julie Budet. Forgive me if the reference escapes you, but she seemed to be dressed as Old Gregg. Of course I giggled and excused myself from the crowd in order to sit down in the lounge area where I could see and relax. I thought it was going to be a long night.
About 10 minutes into the set, I actually wrote down the words “I like it”. I think the true moment of conversion happened during “Qui est cette fille”. It had all of the elements of a great club dance track. I forgot that I had no idea what they were saying. It was purely catchy despite the language barrier. I just couldn’t help but wonder why I had brushed them off initially several years ago. I then remembered that my only recollection of Yelle was overly produced, commercial and contrived noise. Seeing the members dancing and genuinely enjoying what felt like a house party also helped to sell me.
The drummer, Jean-François Perrier, came to center stage and greeted the crowd to a rather warm and sweaty welcome and incited everyone to scream, and they did! After an instrumental performed by the two male members of the band, Yelle appeared back on stage after a wardrobe change. Jean-François asked the crowd if they knew how to whistle and transitioned into “Ce jeu”. At one point, Yelle moon-walked nearly the entire length of the stage in a leopard print mini-dress. I instantly recalled a New York Times best seller, “The French Diet” and I added it to my Amazon wish list. She looked amazing!
About half way through after the crowd had warmed up, “Je Veux Te Voir” started and I instantly recognized it. The band all danced around, but Yelle stole the show with her energy and totally unrestrained dance moves. The crowd was eating it up and at this point I moved from my seat to stand with the crowd. I mean, with a quintessential, handsome Frenchman telling you that he “want to see you crazy” and asking “are you hot tonight”, who wouldn’t get out of their seat?
I fell in love with the fun-loving, odd Ménage à Trois after witnessing them perform as if they were in a sold out stadium. Their charisma was nothing short of contagious. Their French accents were endearing and I found myself laughing and writing the words, “soooooo French” after Yelle had addressed the crowd telling them “we’re going to dance and we’re going to share some love”.
As all things do, the music ended and signaled the chant and screams to encourage an encore. Jean-François appeared and asked “do you want some more?” and we did! He swiveled his hips in a rather awkward way which only made him more attractive and they played just a few more songs and that was it.
Is it enough to say that I felt like a jerk on the way to my car? I had thought about staying a while in order to tell the band how much I enjoyed their performance, but felt that there was no way to say what I wanted to say without it coming across as a back-handed compliment; “I am so glad that you didn’t suck like I expected”.
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