There are not a lot of French language acts that can do a headlining tour of America. Pop singer, Yelle is not only headlining a tour, but she is playing multiple dates in the same location. She played three nights in New York and San Francisco and four nights in Los Angeles. I caught Yelle during her Thursday-Sunday stay at Resident in Los Angeles’ art district.
The long, thin bar probably stands eight people across comfortably but those eight rows go pretty far back. It does not make for good sight lines if you are not in the first few rows of people. For opening act, Lewis OfMan, it was not too much of an issue. The crowd was attentive to the 19 years old wunderkin light synth-pop music but there was still wiggle room in the crowd. Lewis OfMan’s music is somewhere between ’70s Italian film soundtracks and 80s funk. Occasionally, Lewis sings (all in French) but for the most part his music is instrumental. Opening for Yelle seemed like a perfect gig for him. The people who showed up to Resident were there to dance and with Lewis’ light grooves, it inspired plenty of moving. Moving was a little less possible during Yelle’s set. As soon as Lewis OfMan’s set completed, the crush of people began. Fans trying to sneak between crevices of people to get as close to the stage as possible.
Getting to the stage to see Yelle up close was worth it. The French songstress came out dressed in a hooded, sparkling pink jumpsuit and lots of energy. Her stage presence is somewhere between an 80s Jazzercise video and a vaudeville act. Her expressive facial expressions while singing are only upstaged by her tae bo-esque dance moves. She inspired plenty of movement in the crowd where they could find the space.
Yelle and GrandMarnier rocketed through a set of that included classics like “Je veux te voir,” “Ce Jeu,” and “À cause des garçons,” the latter of which got the biggest response from the crowd on the night. She also smattered in singles like “Safari Disco Club” complete with plenty of animal movements and “Complètement fou” before leaving the stage for the first time. Of course there was an encore but instead of digging up more oldies, Yelle went with her two latest singles “Interpassion” and closing with “Romeo.”
About halfway through the set Yelle expressed how sweaty she was so you can only imagine what the crowd was like with body against body, moving, dancing. The release of pressure after the last note of “Romeo” was palpable as the crowd exited the building or at least finally backed away from the stage. Only rave reviews were heard from the crowd after the show with one woman exclaiming “I just love her so much. This was perfect.” That seems to sum up my experience as well.