Published Oct 15, 2014From the first notes of opening track "Unillusion," the crowd at the Théâtre Corona on Tuesday night (October 14) was, as the French say, un public conquis. Singing along to most tracks and dancing together with lead singer Julie Budet while matching her quirky moves, the predominantly gay crowd had a lot of love to give to Yelle, and the French electro-pop trio were giving it right back. With a simple setup that consisted of an illuminated platform that showcased producers GrandMarnier and Franck Richard, who was standing in for Tepr, on drums and a glowing inverted peace sign — the Yelle logo — in the background, all the attention was on the three French balls of energy on stage.
The only "choreography" consisted of Richard and GrandMarnier's synchronized posing, with their drumsticks as props, highlighting the underlying reason why Yelle are a joy to watch: they embrace the ridiculous. They're not afraid to let loose and look a fool, and they're clearly having fun doing so. GrandMarnier and Richard make for a very entertaining duo — wearing matching hoodies and playing up their unofficial roles as non-speaking MCs — all while giving their drum kits and pads quite the beating. Dressed in a multi-coloured fringe concoction, Budet came onstage ready to conquer. She joined into her partners' drumming with her own set of tom-tom drums, which would pop up throughout the night, and for quick second, a wild cowbell made an impromptu appearance. The first part of the night was reserved for hits off the band's sophomore album, Safari Disco Club, such as fan favourite "Comme Un Enfant" which elicited a spirited sing-along, and the Siriusmo-produced "La Musique."
By the time the trio launched into Complètement Fou standout "Ba$$in," a Yelle guide to flirting, the audience was fully ensconced in the world of Yelle, regaled with Richard and GrandMarnier's gyrating hips. Following up with their breakout hit and diss track "Je Veux Te Voir" was a solid move, keeping up the upbeat mood. The trapped-out version of standalone single "Amour Parfait" mashed with the morose "Dire Qu'on Va Tous Mourrir" wasn't as warmly received as the preceding hits, but still had the crowd swaying. And while interaction with the crowd was kept to a minimum, it was still a completely immersive and participative show, a dance of give and take between the crowd and the trio that was never forced, fuelled by the obvious love Yelle has for Montreal and its people and their love for them.
After a quick costume change, Budet was back on stage clad in a bright yellow neoprene dress, launching straight into "Coca Sans Bulles," a perfect commentary on the impact of social media on the way parties are experienced and depicted afterwards, which blended well into early hit "A Cause Des Garçons," the track that popularized — for better or for worse — the tecktonik dance trend. Budet then joined the boys on the platform to grab a disco ball and reflect multi-coloured beams of light on her adoring fans while performing new cut "Toho," which lends itself nicely to a live setting. Then it was back to Safari Disco Club territory, with performances of the title track and "S'éteint Le Soleil" to finish off the set.
Obviously an encore was warranted, but it was a short one, consisting of only two tracks. They performed "Tristesse/Joie" off their debut album Pop Up before GrandMarnier could execute his current tour ritual: filming the crowd on his iPhone 6 (which we should avoid buying, according to him) to make a slow motion spliced film of the tour. They kept the title track of Complètement Fou until the very end, which proved to be a solid move on their part. It was a perfect way to end the evening: completely bonkers.