Show Review: Yelle at Mezzanine, 11/12/11

by Dakin Hardwick on November 18, 2011

All Photos By David Price

Every once in a while, something completely out of left field comes into your vision, often times unexpectedly. Yelle were one of those bands for me. I was at SXSW, and I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. Then, I stumbled across a crowded room and got to experience wonderfully high energy performance. The room was far too crowded to enter, but I was able to catch some of it through an open window. I couldn’t tell what language the music was in, and I had to fight a little to find out what I was listening to, but once I did, I made careful note of who it was. I checked out their SXSW schedule, and proceeded to try to get into one of their many sets, in order to actually get to “watch” the band, but to no avail.

Well, many years later, I finally got to actually see this band live. It was a chilly Saturday night, as Novembers in San Francisco can be. It also meant that the crowd got there early, because they wanted to maintain that warmth. In fact, this was may have been the biggest crowd I’ve seen early at Mezzanine. There was a DJ playing a fun array of pop hits, and crowd was getting pretty excited. There was a good vibe, people were interacting, it was fun.

Then the support came on. It was a band called Dirty Ghosts. They sounded like, well, every rock band from five years ago. They are all very attractive people, but they didn’t do much for me. They were not the kind of band that should have been supporting this show. Thankfully, their support set was brief, and the DJ came back on to re-energize the crowd.

Yelle came out Safari Disco Club‘s closer “S’eteind Le Solei.” The song’s slow build made for a perfect starter. They band jumped straight into a medley of “Unillusion” and a cover of the Robyn song “Who’s That Girl?”, translated into French. That set the tone for the rest of the show. Rarely did they play the songs straight. Instead of doing straight up remixes, drummer Grandmarnier and and synthmaster Tepr kept things interesting and flowing. It’s also pretty difficult to even be noticed on stage when you have such an impressive front person like Julie Budet (aka Yelle. I know it’s confusing) as your front person.

What can be said about Budet… She’s simply magnetic. She plays to all parts of the crowd. She never loses energy. It feels like she’s going to explode with every move! She practically forces the crowd to move by her mere presence!

As for the songs, well, I don’t speak a lick of French. I know the music, and I rather enjoy the music. I needed the setlist to know the names of the songs. But, it doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter to anyone in the crowd, which consisted of primarily English speakers. I didn’t over hear a single person in the crowd speaking in French. I thought to myself, “This is how our music sounds in the rest of the world.” And when they got to the hits, such as “Ce Jeu,” “Que Veaux Tu,” and the epic set closer “A Cause de Garcon,” I knew that I was just singing along phonetically. It’s funny, because people tell me that their lyrics are fantastic, so I’m pretty sure that I need to learn French now. But, in reality, all we really needed to do was dance.

Setlist

S’eteind Le Soleil

Qui Est Cette Fille / Unillusion

Comme Un Enfant

La Musique / Remix / J’ai Bu

Ce Jeu

Je Veux Te Voir

Mon Pays

Chimie Physique

Que Veux Tu

Safari Disco Club

Cooler Coulier / A Cause De Garcon / Remix

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