It’s been a long time coming for French act, Yuksek to hit D.C. Ever since I saw them at the Creator’s Project this past fall I had been chomping at the bit to see them at home. And when tour dates were announced, mostly surrounding the SXSW festival, D.C. was no where to be seen on the list. Maybe it was my sheer luck, or perhaps just good karma but after a bout of pneumonia which deterred Pierre-Alexander Busson and his counterparts from hitting the showcase circuit, a D.C. date at Uhall was born.
Pierre, I’m sorry you were sick but thank god for small favors.
The Uhall crowd was in high spirits Wednesday night as anxious toe tapping was stifled once French Horn Rebellion took the stage nearly an hour after the proposed set time. These Brooklynites (by way of Milwaukee if my bourbon-laden memory serves correctly) sure know a thing or two about crowd control. While I wasn’t totally familiar with their catalogue (except “Up All Night“, which even your Mother should know) they played solid, electro-party pump up jams with panache. These boys had no problems getting down into the crowd to incite laughter and dancing. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a D.C. crowd, tiny as it was, be so seduced by an opener. I mean, there was a dance off, a french horn solo (duh) and some Vanilla Ice lyrics being rapped over kickin’ beats. The audience ate it all up with a shovel.
But it was Yuksek that stole the show and rightfully so. Their debut album, Living On The Edge Of Time, has all the makings of a commercially successful record and the songs translate incredibly well with a live band set up.
Let’s talk about that live band for a minute, shall we? Sure, Pierre is a total babe and a half, but it’s his drummer that catches the eye. She is the definition of fierce, with a bounty of hair that bounces as she crashbangboom‘s against cymbals and toms. Her live backing vocals add an element and layer of harmony that’s missed on record but I’m not complaining. Add in the Norman Reedus lookalike on keys/guitar/backing vocals, and this is one band that certainly on looks alone should be doing magazine covers for Rolling Stone. But there are no egos in Yuksek, despite being Pierre’s brand and brainchild and that’s why it all works so well. That’s why when he smiles over at his drummer, mid-song while the audience is going CRAZY at the opening staccato key chords of “Always On The Run“, you know it’s legit. You know they just love playing to rooms full of dancing, sweaty twenty-somethings.
I’ve seen Yuksek described as an “electro maven” and there is truly no description better fitting. The entirety of UHall was on their feet, dancing, smiling and embracing positive vibes on a Wednesday. A WEDNESDAY NIGHT, PEOPLE. But Yuksek also embraces the slow, the melodic and the serene with tracks like “Off the Wall” and “To See You Smile” which were both peppered into a set so vibrant and upbeat… it was like a giant tease. All you want to do is dance.dance.dance but then these beautiful tones come through the speakers… and you’re okay. You’re okay and happy to have a moment to catch your breath, before being assaulted again with good electronic vibrations. And yeah, they may have gone on incredibly late (11:30pm??) and had a few minor technical difficulties at the beginning of their set — but I’ll take all of that if I can bask in the warm glow that embraced us all on Wednesday. I mean, if this is the future of music, call me a believer. And if this was living on the edge of time, I’m never stepping back from the ledge.
Yuksek, come back soon. We/I miss you already.