Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yelle in Seattle

Saturday night in Seattle and it was dumping rain. Puddles deeper than my shoes had formed in a manner of minutes. I opted to leave my umbrella in the car for the 1 block walk to Neumos where Yelle would be performing in front of a sold out show. Sadly, the guest list hadn't been updated so I had to wait in the rain for confirmation that I could shoot it. My gear was getting soaked and so were my spirits. I hiked back to succumb to the elements and get my bent and torn umbrella someone had borrowed from Maggiano's and never returned.

My pass came through and I walked inside the club. Immediately I felt old. Those that were inside at the time were decked out in so much neon/pastel that for a minute there I thought it was 1986 and that I was back at Springfield Middle School with my feathered hair featuring a rat tail, my Parachute Pants and my Ms. Pac Man half shirt on. I snapped out of it, remembered I was almost 40, overweight and bald.

I claimed my spot at the front of the stage as soon as I saw there was no barrier for photographers. Last time I shot in that type of environment was at the Showbox Sodo for Awol Nation and I got my ass kicked by the crowd. "It's going to be a long night" I thought to myself as Euro-Pop is not a style of music I listen to on a regular basis. In fact, I haven't listened to Euro-Pop since I was in the outfit I wrote about above and Samantha Fox was singing "Touch Me!" Even then, I didn't care so much about the music as I was a 13 year old hormonal boy mostly entranced by her gigantic boobs.

The sold out crowd poured in and I hunkered down fully prepared to defend my spot at the stage for at least 3 songs no matter what. Yelle' had no limitations for photographers but I set my mind on 3 songs. As it got more and more packed I kept waiting and waiting for the inevitable crush. I looked around and saw an ecclectic mix of young and old, gay and straight, boys and girls all with one thing in common..huge smiles on their faces. High fives, hugs and genuine happiness was abundant. "Weird" I thought to myself. Still I waited for the crush. It never came. Usually in a club like this there is an urge to get as close to the stage as possible. The back third of the room is vacant while the front two thirds are packed as tight as can be. In this case, everyone appeared content with keeping a respectable space between each other and I can't think of one time I was even bumped into. The energy in the room was...well, for lack of a better term: nice.

Then the lights dimmed. Onto the stage walk two men in safari outfits with stoic expressions, deep visors and defined movement. A woman covered in an elaborate costume that reminds me of the Meet Me at the Center of the Earth display at the Seattle Art Museum jumps on stage and takes the microphone. You can't see her face but you can't miss her voice. It penetrates the room and freezes the crowd. I literally got goosebumps. She sang a song in costume then showed her face. The first thing I noticed was a radiant and completely contagious smile. Her voice was powerful and even Randy Jackson couldn't have found a pitch problem.

After a few months studying French in High School a million years ago I was able to pick up a few words in the music but honestly it didn't matter. The energy was where it was at. She never once stopped dancing. Clawing at the air, jumping, gyrating..constant, intense...awesome.

The third song came and went..I was mesmerized. No way was I going to leave. She went back stage while the two men sharing the stage with her beat out an intense rhythm clearly designed to keep the crowd amped. Moments later she reappeared in an outfit that you had to see to believe.

I couldn't help but enjoy myself. Yelle is awesome. At one point I found myself dancing to the music, I felt a hand tapping my shoulder and turned to see a short girl beaming with a giant smile..she pointed at Yelle, pointed at me and gave two giant thumbs up. I suppose it was obvious I didn't fit the profile of the typical Yelle fan but also obvious I was having a good time. I'm still not entirely sure what the gesture meant but it was cool.

The show ended, I was going to buy a CD but the line was so long and I had to get back to work so Amazon here I come.

Yelle made me want to start studying French again.

Here is her website:

View more photos of the show in my Facebook Gallery by clicking here.

My favorite pic of the night.
Wild outfit, wild drums..who knew the French were so cool?

awesome intro to the show!
beau à ravir

This photo caught my eye..doesn't it look like she is captured by the light? Almost as if she's being abducted by aliens.

1 comment:

Jan Klier said...

Very cool.