On Saturday night, the stage at the Regency Ballroom was set for indie French synthpop band La Femme. As the venue began to fill with women in berets and knee-high boots, Naomi Greene, the night’s opener, descended onto the stage. As she floated in on the breath of her lace floor-length dress, the crowd went silent. Although she sang most of her set in English, the piece she did in French teased the crowd for what was to come with the main act.
La Femme entered onto the stage to the tune of marching music, complete in culottes and sports shirts that shone in the light of the stage. As the stage transitioned into a deep blue, the eerie techno haze of “Sphynx,” the first track off its most recent album Mystère, echoed through the crowd. The wispy voices of Naomi Greene and La Femme’s lead female vocalist, Clémence Quélennec, led the opening verses into the first of many hypnotic warpholes the band creates in its music.
Although the show started off on a more chill note, by the third piece, La Femme was already performing “Où va le monde,” one of its more upbeat hits with unique pop sound. The audience was moshing and the floors were vibrating to the pounding of feet against the ballroom floor. As girls navigated the crowd with drinks in hands, vodka tonics would go splashing to the ground as crowd surfers were launched from one side of the room to the next.
Quélennec rarely sang without a straight face, but during “Elle ne t’aime pas,” she had come out from behind her red keyboard (just one of the four red keyboards/synths that lined the rim of the stage). The singer who had once been beating the tambourine to the background of her male vocalist counterparts was now crouched and leaning into her audience, spitting her verses to the hands that reached out to her.
In between pieces, members of the band, in thick French accents, would yell into the crowd, thanking them for showing up. In one instance, “Are you ready for the get down?” was yelled into the crowd by a shirtless Sacha Got.
Although Marlon Magnée and Got are accredited with starting the band, it now consists of five members on its recorded albums — none of whom play any lead role. Instead, they compare La Femme to a solar system, with its sound being its central focus — not any one female vocalist. The unnamed female bassist, clad in a beret, who stood in the back of the stage the entire set was a testament to this ideology.
After a show that included belt whippings, solos on a keyboard taken of its stand and paraded around the stage and a kid in a USC button up being escorted off the stage by a security guard, the band ended its set with one of its most popular songs — “It’s Time to Wake Up 2023.” In their live performance, the band members drawled on every sustained lyric in the song, creating anticipation for the finale: a mad keyboard solo to the beat of the strobe lights flooding the audience and illuminating an awestruck crowd.
They band left the stage to the cries of loving fans.
After a nearly five-minute of the crowd screaming a chant of encores, several members of La Femme, including Quélennec, returned to the stage with Naomi Greene. They performed a slow, intimate rendition of “Le vide est ton nouveau prénom.” This was just the beginning of the several-piece encore set. By the time the band left the stage for the final time, it had ripped open a huge mosh pit in the center of the Regency, girls were smoking cigarettes on the outskirts of the crowd, and the stage was thick with the smoke of joints being passed around the stage.
Contact Annalise Kamegawa at [email protected].