Thursday 5 March 2015

Yelle at Village Underground 04 March 2015


As I enter Village Underground, the support act already on stage and comfortably into their set.

I’ve see NZCA Lines before and liked them. Although it is perhaps telling that I had not given the band a second thought from that day to this.

The band play pleasant but utter unchallenging synth pop. Singer Michael Lovett is wearing a nice crisp shirt and it is all very affable.

There may be hints of the precisely clipped ‘white’ sound of acts like Hot Chip or even Scritti Politti, but ultimately there just isn’t enough here to really get your teeth into and engage with.

Yelle is a French electronic artist who has been producing Gallic club bangers for a number of years.

Tonight, Yelle (aka Julie Budet) is joined by two identically-clad male drummers. She is only armed with a microphone, although she occasionally bashes at a third, electronic drum pad. As the racing synth music blasts out it becomes clear that anything up to around 80% of what we will hear tonight is backing track.

This doesn’t really matter. The drummers are primarily here to perform dance routines, posing and throwing shapes and only sporadically actually playing their kit.

Yelle herself has a good voice and a winning personality that she deploys to manipulate the crowd. We are happy to clap our hands, wave them in the air like we just don’t care and ignore the artificiality and absurdity of it all.

What does come as a surprise is how long the band plays for. After a minor encore on the half hour mark they play for at least as long again. It’s cheesy fun and the biggest cheer of the night comes when the two drummers entwine and start snogging each other’s faces off.

Yelle are very much a club act. They would be happiest on a podium in some Ibizan Manumission style dance shed.

They’re still pretty jolly on a cold night in Shoreditch.