Posted by: Johnny Loftus on April 30, 2008 at 9:12 am

Listen: “A Cause Des Garcons”

Frontier Justice 18: Yelle Magnifico

By Johnny Loftus

When I was living in Detroit, there were nights and early to mid-mornings spent in the presence of epic DJs. In art galleries, strange basements, the blank-faced shells of warehouses, and even a few legitimate clubs, the room often blew up. Hands flew, women lost mastery of their limbs’ movement, and dudes raised drinks and bobbed necks to tracks that owned. I don’t find that room much now that I’ve moved to Chicago, partly because reliable veteran Smart Bar is too many hoops to get to from where I live and mostly because everything else electronic in this town seems married to bottle service clear epoxy giganto joints. Give me time; I’ll find the medium. In the meantime, it’s really awesome that Yelle found that elusive moment, that intersection of all heads bobbing, all arms flailing, and she didn’t even need a wi-fi connection to do it.

Yelle is this young Frenchwoman (real name: Julie Budet) who made a splash on MySpace, or maybe in French media, or on VousTube maybe, but anyway, she made a splash awhile back with her song “Je Veux Te Voir,” an answer song to some French rapper or boy band or something. I’m sure the music supervisors of “The Hills” can fill us in, as they’ve already licensed Yelle’s insanely catchy single “A cause des Garcons.”

Anyway, she appears at the Logan Square Auditorium here in town on Tuesday night, and it’s just this — uh-oh — hot mess of stupid fun, just over half a room full of YouTube frequenters who fell in love with a girl over the Internet. People were doing dance moves in unison with Yelle as their leader. A lot were learning on the fly, in between gleeful war whoops and a bunch of bobbily-kneed, entirely un-ironic and completely joyous dancing. But there was a whole throng of people near the front who KNEW SHIT. And there’s no way they were all French, so we can assume that they learned about that shit on the Internet.

Sure, MTV’s on board now. And Yelle did just play Coachella. And really, though her show was the highest energy I’ve seen in a music room this year and she was gracious and cute and energetic and lovely, and her band of dudes wearing “Dance or Die” T-shirts were eager and full of ‘zazz, really, they could have been a band in your student union. They could have been a group of particularly talented Club Med counselors. And at the end of their set, when kids were being let past the barrier to dance in the most polite version of rushing a stage I’ve ever seen, Yelle stood among them — just a slip of brown hair and pale skin lost inside a Lite Brite jumper — and she was entirely one of them.

Any one of those kids could have grabbed the mic at that moment, if only they’d spoke French. Because while Yelle and her band are a bit disposable (spreading the Nutella lightly there), I guess they’re still amazing because they knew how to eke that moment for every single bit of righteous, raised fist and flying foot pandemonium the room could handle. “Yelle show is nowhere near the hook,” went the text I sent to D___ midway through a six minute version of “Je Veux Te Voir.” The Internet had told everyone that this show would be awesome, and in the real world, it was.


[tags]Yelle, Pop-Up, Je Veux Te Voir, Logan Square Auditorium, Coachella, Lite Brite[/tags]


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