Live Review: Yelle with French Horn Rebellion at The Music Box
Timothy Norris For more images, see our slideshow.
Who: Yelle w/French Horn Rebellion
Where: The Music Box
Has there ever been a country so well put-together that even its most hackneyed cliches are charming and sexy? Sure, you have a disturbing tendency to get really up in arms about the civil rights of rapists, but you make up for it by constantly producing people like Yelle. And last night, the lithe, cat-suited electropop goddess blew the packed crowd at The Music Box away with an astonishingly high-energy set that was 50% melodic perfection, 50% banging beats and 50% totally adorkable French-accented banter of the 'We are zo pleezed to, how do you say, be heere toonight!' variety.
"You ready to shake your body body? We want to see that."
Yeah, exactly like that. SWOON.
Brooklyn's French Horn Rebellion also delivered the goods with a brilliant and frequently hilarious opening set that might have been the best compensation for early-set tech problems we've ever seen. It was two hours of fun to the extreme and incredibly sexy sexiness that, by the end, had us wishing that maybe the world had ended. It's kind of hard to go on when you've just had the time of your life.
"Yo Dave, check out my spin moves!"
Living in Los Angeles makes one become very, very comfortable with casual. Even the most dedicated scensters dress like we're splitting the difference or, at least, hedging our bets. Trying not to commit too much to anything. New York, on the other hand, goes 100% all-out formal. People wear suits to every kind of job interview, and even the scroungiest just-outta-bed hipster looks like he spent 40 hours putting himself together. We spent a week in Brooklyn surrounded by people wearing nothing but t-shirts and we still felt underdressed.
We bring this up because French Horn Rebellion are totally hardcore and the most Brooklyn-looking guys ever. They're also basically incredible - seriously, listen to This Moment for more than 30 seconds; if it isn't immediately your new favorite song you're dead inside - and we love their debut album, but going into the show we were cautiously optimistic. The world is littered with people who can't produce results live. This is doubly true when you're talking about a duo who rely extensively on playing sampled bits of their songs via laptop while they accompany on keys. Lots of potential for technical breakdowns and the possibility of more ums and hmmms than a college radio DJ.
It turns out the solution to the former is to be awesome. Part of what works so fucking well about French Horn Rebellion is that these guys take their music, but not themselves, seriously. God bless them for it. They started their set, or rather attempted to start their set, with "This Moment," but David Perlick-Molinari's laptop broke. We're pretty sure moments like this is why we only write about music, because we would have been tearing out our hair and inventing brand new profanities to accompany our humiliation. Robert Perlick-Molinari simply whipped out his French horn and started taking requests from the crowd for composers whose work he should belt out. This revealed not only the fact that French Horn Rebellion isn't a jokey, ironic name - he actually knows how to play that shizz, yo - but that The Music Box audience's knowledge of classical music is seriously deficient.
(Note to the earnest woman who shouted "Tolstoy!" as her suggestion: Tolstoy was a writer. You were probably thinking of Baryshnikov.)