Sunday night Yelle put on a show for which my bad knee will never forgive me.
By the look on everyone’s face, one might assume that we were in the midst of running a marathon rather than dancing to lively French pop music. Sweat drenched T-shirts, spilled drinks, never-ending farts and broken phones began to characterize the show, and we were only two songs in. To be fair, the second song on the set list, “Comme Un Enfant,” can fill up suburban kids with energy levels high enough to start a mosh pit.
Everyone packed inside the Majestic Theatre passionately shouted the words to each of Yelle’s songs despite the majority’s complete lack of knowledge in anything above high school French. (Although I did hear a girl proudly sing, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” from a bathroom stall.) But how can you blame them? Yelle managed to perfectly emulate the vibe of a Technotronic music video with the use of not one but two drummers maintaining ‘n sync robotic movements, and a lead singer dressed in vibrant colors and sprinkled in shrimp.
The French trio consists of lead singer Julie Budet, producer GrandMarnier and the recent addition Tepr. They rose to fame almost immediately after the release of their debut album, Pop Up, in 2008, which features some of their catchiest tunes, such as “Je Veux Te Voir” and “À Cause Des Garçons.” The group’s second album, Safari Disco Club, was released in 2011 and features one of my personal favorites, “Comme Un Enfant.” The group’s latest LP, Complètement Fou, was released in September. The album is failing to disappoint fans and hopefully many others.
“Merci beaucoup Madison!” Budet screamed, three years after the group’s first appearance in Madison. The band has remained spunky and unique in spite of their heightened fame since the last time they were in town. Recently, Katy Perry tweeted their song “Complètement Fou,” a hot single off their new album, and said, “I don’t care if I don’t understand it, I love it and it makes my booty bounce.” Perry was right by the looks of the Majestic Sunday night. In the words of Luda, if you “take that and rewind it back, [Yelle] got the beat that make your booty go (smacking sound effect).”
About halfway through the show, I turned my head slightly to check on the status of my friend when something caught my eye. I have never witnessed anything of this magnitude at a show. As I turned my head, I saw the sparkle of a single tear shimmering as it ran down a young man’s face. I later learned that he had traveled from Green Bay to see the show, and he did seem quite ecstatic about the band. It made sense but the sight was so profound. If you have ever watched a live Michael Jackson concert, you know what I mean: A crowd of countless happy campers dancing and singing along and, suddenly, the camera begins to zoom in slowly to a close-up of a fan so overwhelmed by the experience that he/she has no other option but to cry.
To me, this is the point at which an artist can confidently say that they have made it. Sure, if I go to a Nicki Minaj concert I might dance uncontrollably for hours. However, will I dance uncontrollably for hours AND witness a grown boy cry at the sight of her? Maybe.