Yelle Brought Quirky French Disco to Bardot and Made Miami Say Oui

Yelle Brought Quirky French Disco to Bardot and Made Miami Say Oui
Photo by Maciek Pozoga

Yelle
Friday, July 31, 2015
Bardot, Miami

Better than: French toast. French fries. French-press coffee.

When Yelle first popped up in the music scene with a track called "Short Dick Cuizi," it was part of a group of acts that took advantage of new media like MySpace and the Hype Machine to attract attention. In today's era of Spotify and YouTube superstars, that may not seem like a big deal, but back in 2006, having a song go viral was pretty rare.

Other French acts were able to find success around this time as well, particularly Justice and the whole Ed Banger crew, but Yelle was the only French act that performed songs in French that managed to make a dent in the U.S. music scene — even MTV called the group buzzworthy. Yelle smartly kept the hype going with its debut album, Pop Up, which saw "Short Dick Cuizi" renamed to "Je veux te voir." A tour eventually brought the group stateside, including a stop at the Polish American Club in Miami.

Yelle's performance at Bardot on Friday night was years after the band's breakthrough, and while it wasn't the chart-topping success everyone seemed to predict it would be (singing exclusively in French is a difficult obstacle to overcome in the American music market), it's managed to release three solid albums and continued to tour around the globe.

When Julie Budet hit the carpet at Bardot, she took the crowd through a collection of the band's greatest hits along with new material from the latest release, Complètement fou. Kicking off with "Unillusion," Yelle brought the disco from the start. It also gave the crowd a good introduction of what to expect for the next 90 minutes. GrandMarnier, along with a second drummer, produced the beats both on a regular drum kit and a drum machine.

Budet has also come a long way as a live performer. She seemed more confident, both vocally and in appearance, than the two performances we've seen before, at the Polish American Club and the Fillmore. Even as she ripped through the slight absurdity of "Ba$$in" (that's French for "hips," although we are also sure it's literal English pronunciation is intentional), her vocals remained studio-quality.

"Do you know how to move your hips, Miami?" Budet asked before starting the song. (Uh, Budet, this is Miami, home of Miami bass; moving your hips is a birthright.)

Both Budet and GrandMarnier were particularly chatty this time around — perhaps they feel more confident communicating in English than before — and it was enjoyable, if at times a bit awkward.

"Do you know what a crescendo is?" GrandMarnier asked the crowd before going into "Coca san bulles." It kind of felt like the teacher just asked a question and nobody studied as the crowd seemed to avoid eye contact with GrandMarnier for fear of being called on to state the answer. After he finally sort of got the right definition, he led the crowd in a collective crescendo that was wholly unnecessary, but we live for awkward moments like these, so we loved every minute of it.

But the awkwardness didn't stop there. See, Bardot isn't your traditional concert venue. Acts perform at eye level, which makes for an intimate experience but also led some people in the crowd to believe that everyone paid to see their dance moves instead of Yelle's performance. (Yeah, dude in the glasses, nobody wanted to see you dance.) A tightly packed venue also means the whole scream-loud-for-an-encore tradition isn't always conceivable since there isn't a backstage area for acts to pretend like their done only to come out for a few more songs.

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Yelle's solution? Having the crowd pretend like they left the stage and having everyone scream basically to their faces. It was wonderfully quirky in a French way, I guess.

Awkward moments aside (seriously, I loved each one of them), the music was great. Longtime hits like "Je veux te voir" and "A cause des garçons" didn't overshadow new material like "Bouquet final," "Jeune fille garnement," and "Complètement fou," all which were some of the highlights of the show.

Throughout the set, Budet emphasized how happy Yelle was to be back in Miami, and after Friday's performance I was too. (I've actually been listening to Pop Up and Safari Disco Club on repeat since.) Let's hope next time they don't keep Miami waiting so long for a repeat performance.

Setlist:

  • "Unillusion"
  • "Comme un enfant"
  • "La musique"
  • "Ba$$in"
  • "Je veux te voir"
  • "L’amour parfait"
  • "Dire qu'onvatousmourir"
  • "Bouquet final"
  • "Jeune fille garnement"
  • "Que veux-tu"
  • "Coca sans bulles"
  • "A cause des garçons"
  • "Toho"
  • "Safari Disco Club"
  • "S'éteint le soleil"

Encore:

  • "Tristesse/Joie"
  • "Complètement fou"
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miles
Bardot

3456 N. Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33127

305-576-7750

www.bardotmiami.com


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