warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Woodkid Unleashes His 'Golden' Epic At The Fonda

Sara Itkis |
May 11, 2013 | 10:47 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Yoann Lemoine stands under the spotlights of the Fonda. (by Sara Itkis/Neon Tommy)
Yoann Lemoine stands under the spotlights of the Fonda. (by Sara Itkis/Neon Tommy)
It is a stern sight that meets the eye as the crowd breathlessly waits for Woodkid to enter the stage.

On one side stand three men with three bass instruments. Opposite them are the keyboardist and computerist. In the back and center stand two massive drummers, matched only by their intimidating drum sets. All are dressed in black and stare, stony-faced, out above the crowd.

Without a word, the somber ensemble belts out a series of ominous chords and the drummers throw their entire bodies into executing the slow beat. Just as this funeral-esque march is about to come to an end, the image of two keys is projected onto the screen at the back of the stage, and the crowd explodes into cheers.

It is Woodkid’s trademark image, signaling his imminent entrance, and at this point, expectations are quite high. Yet the man who comes out is not exactly what one would predict. 

Yoann Lemoine—the man behind the pseudonym—is a 30-year-old French boy, relatively small in stature and slightly mousy in his facial features, some of which are hidden by his beard. His eyes are expressive, almost as much as his warm voice.

This soft voice leading an orchestra of such dimensions, this small figure at the front of his imposing ensemble, Woodkid embodies a paradox of sorts. Though generally identified with a hipster/alternative fanbase, he is dressed in “L.A. swag” attire.

In between the verses, he turns his back to the audience in between verses, watching the story unfold in the projections, but during the overwhelming applause, he grins conspiratorially, returning the crowd’s affection with “Je t’aime.” 

Woodkid’s night at the Fonda was his first show in Los Angeles. Lemoine is originally from Lyon, France, and his career as a musician is still very new.

He released "Iron," his first EP, only two years ago, and his album "The Golden Age" came out this past March. Before this, Lemoine was a music video director, working with Lana Del Ray, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Moby, among others. He also directed a video for The Shoes, a French indie dance pop duo who performed as his DJ opening act.

With this background in the cinematic medium, Woodkid’s music is story-driven at its heart. "The Golden Age" could easily be the soundtrack to an epic film; it tells the “f*cked up story,” as Woodkid called it, of a boy and his transformation to adulthood—from Wood to Iron.

After a soulful opening with “Baltimore’s Fireflies,” Woodkid announced that he would be playing the entire album, “and maybe more.” He kept his word, playing all 14 tracks, as well as an emotional rendition of “Brooklyn” from the "Iron" EP.

Saving the best for last, he performed a thrilling version of his hit “Run Boy Run” as the encore, followed by the final track of the album, “The Other Side.”

The audience greeted him with excitement, applauding with recognition at hearing the first few chords of each song and singing along at the bridges. With “The Great Escape,” they jumped up and down to the rhythm, and when he called out the city by changing the usual “Here in Paris rain is falling” to “L.A.,” he was momentarily drowned in their cheers.

At times he responded with a humble giggle, and at others he opened his arms, demanding more—which he never failed to receive. In turn, he blew the crowd away with the grand dimensions and simultaneous intimacy of his music.

The massive, exhilarating quality of Woodkid that is only hinted at when heard at half volume through a pair of earphones came into its true, full scale at the Fonda that night.

Read more of NT's show reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Sara Itkis here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.