Last Night: Yelle at the Polish American Club

Justin Namon

Yelle brought the electro party to the Polish American Club. Click to view the full slideshow.

Yelle with Kap10Kurt and Funeral Party

Friday, October 11, 2008

Polish American Club, Miami

Better Than: A rollicking La Marseillaise dance party with Gérard Depardieu.

The question came over and over between Yelle's songs and her coquettish glances over the microphone.

"Are you ready to dance, Miami?"

It was either a statement of purpose or a reflection of Yelle's less-than-stellar English that she kept returning to the same question. Or, perhaps, she was just really confused about whether or not Miami truly was prepared to shake it.

Whatever. The crowd adored it, and it was hard not to. Yelle, also known as Julie Budet, also known as the French hottie who got famous by MySpace dissing the dick-size of French rapper Cuizinier, may not have much of a catalog yet or much practice flaunting it onstage.

But she does have some serious Gallic charisma. And it doesn't hurt to have two serious beat-breakers like Tepr and GrandMarnier cranking it behind her all night.

From the opening chords of "Tristesse/Joie," with Yelle shimmying around the stage in a loose, blue-sequined dress embossed with a huge female face (her own?) and lines of silver glitter streaked across her cheeks, the packed house at the Polish American Club bounced, jumped in unison and reflected the French bombshell's smoldering glances back at her with screaming affection.

If Yelle's voice seemed less than robust in person, Tepr made up for any deficit with thunderous backbeats and grinding keyboard arpeggios. He and GrandMarnier are clearly the not-so-secret weapon behind Yelle's quick ascent in the indie pop world, the je ne se quois bolstering her trans-Atlantic sex appeal.

The DJ-frontwoman chemistry hit its perfect range on the first set's closer, single "A Cause Des Garcons," with Yelle rocking a memorable chorus until the song erupted in Tepr's glitchy breakdown.

When the lights stayed on for an encore after a long electro-outro, the crowd clearly was wondering what lay in store -- after all Yelle had already belted out every song from her debut disc, Pop Up.

"Are you ready to dance, Miami?" she demanded, before launching into another version of "Je veux te voir," her original MySpace-fueled hit.

The crowd hadn't tired of the question or the song the first time around. Yelle must have left convinced -- but just in case she had any doubts, she promised to drop by Tepr's set later that night at Heathrow in South Beach.

Personal Bias: I wisely took Russian in high school, but I'm a Francophile all the way. Yes, I cheered on the guy who charged toward the stage during the opening song with a French flag draped over his shoulders.

Random Detail: A group of five kids near the front took our advice on how to look, uh, cool for the show, by printing out and painstakingly assembling colorful Yelle masks. Alas, they were far too drunk to wave them at Yelle when she demanded to see who had masks in the crowd. They were also too drunk to keep the masks on, stand up, keep their glasses on, or generally function as human beings. But damn. They did look cool.

By The Way: Two bartenders for a good chunk of the night with nearly 1,000 hipsters in the house? Really, Polish American Club? You're going to play us like that?

-- Tim Elfrink

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Tim Elfrink is an award-winning investigative reporter, the managing editor of the Miami New Times and the co-author of "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era." Since 2008, he's written in-depth pieces on police corruption, fatal shootings and social justice issues across South Florida. He's won the George Polk Award and has been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink