10/9/14 – Paradise Rock Club

A few drops of water spattered my shoulder as the crowd swayed back and forth to the So Cal electro-pop beats of Lemonade. The moisture came from a gradually warming beer can held by the mustachioed, bespeckled guy next to me as the outrageously pattern-clad crowd engaged in a vaguely interested tolerance for the opening band, certainly not the quirky French pop artist they’d come to see.

Afterwards: the lengthy pause of a crowd waiting with bated breath, drawn out over the minutes and punctuated by the steady drip from the now entirely lukewarm can. Tension increased as the crowd’s murmurs grew louder. Then, sudden darkness.

The crowd broke out into whistles and cheers, their patience finally about to be rewarded. Like a flash of lightening, the spotlight illuminated two drummers in identical black, brick-patterned hoodies.

Darkness again—this time punctuated by fierce, synchronized drumbeats that rolled and roiled intensely, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The beat drove faster and faster, the complex rhythms accelerating, lights flashing from within the drums until they swelled to a climax. And then Yelle appeared.

She strutted out in deliberate, dramatic steps, sporting a white version of her drummers’ outfits, wasting no time in taking possession of the microphone as she launched into funky pop sensation “Comme Un Enfant.” Despite the language difference, her fans sang along to nearly every song, rejoicing in the bouncy beats. She paused a few songs into the set, a shy, delighted smile creeping across her face. “Bonjour Boston, eet iz so good to see you again! I love you all—Je t’aime!” she proclaimed, her genuine warmth impossible to miss. “Will you share your love with me tonight?” A roar of approval. “Then let me see your heart!” She bounced up and down with the crowd, hand-heart held aloft. And so the manic dance party continued.

Yelle held court throughout the entire show, mesmerizing the crowd with sassy vocals and funky hip-hop moves that spoke in the universal language of party. Multicolored lighting flared and vanished with each song’s intensity. However, the show proved more diverse than just light shows and poppy beats—Yelle lulled the room into an emotional silence with her slow, ballad-style rendition of “S’éteint Le Soleil.” Then she was back bounding around the stage for “Je Veux Te Voir,” reveling in the performance. During “Ce Jeu,” she pranced up and down the stage as if on a catwalk, drumsticks held aloft, snapping out a fierce beat while the crowd clapped in time.

Later, she re-emerged for an encore, this time draped in a black and white tapestry dress. She finished off with a back-to-back pair of crowd favorites and then bid everyone a “bon nuit” before fluttering off backstage, blowing kisses to a crowd who still begged for more.

Not Lost in Translation: Yelle
Pros
  • High energy from band and crowd
  • Stylish lighting displays
Cons
  • Lyrics often indecipherable
  • Long wait before the show
8.1Overall Score

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