Sound on Sound Review: Yelle

The book of David Byrne with a chapter on French seduction

The adage that music transcends language holds true for French electro-pop trio Yelle. The majority of the band’s full-house SOS audience had obviously forgotten what little French they learned in high school, but it hardly mattered. Frontwoman Julie Budet proved effortlessly transfixing outside at Mohawk on Saturday night.

Yelle’s Julie Budet (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

As did the singer’s glittering purple onesie shimmering under the stage lights.

Whether you’re a novice listener or a die-hard fan, it’s difficult not to be drawn into the band’s infectious beats and primal dance moves. Their choreography derives from the book of David Byrne with an added chapter on Gallic seduction, all of which makes live Yelle radiate as reimagined mating rituals. Occasional gestures bridging the rock star gender gap and the singer’s tongue-in-cheek objectification of her two male bandmates proved refreshing.

It’s gratifying to see a female lead in control of her setting.

After a typically quirky and electro-energetic opening from the homegrown Octopus Project, Yelle’s hourlong “Club Party” set kicked off with their 2016 single “Ici & Maintenant.” From that point on, the energy level never waned. Song after song kept the late-night audience entranced, club kids squealing at the introduction of each song. By the time the band concluded with two beloved hits, “Complètement Fou” and “Moteur Action,” the crowd wanted more.

But an hour was the perfect amount of time. Sound variant limited, 60 minutes left you wanting more but not feeling fatigued. And the length of performance was plenty enough time to make you wish you’d paid just a little more attention in French.

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Yelle, Sound on Sound Fest 2017, Julie Budet, David Byrne, Octopus Project

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