Vive la France: Polo & Pan Live at First Avenue

Polo Pan

If you were at First Avenue last night for Polo & Pan and you closed your eyes and concentrated just so, you could have convinced yourself that you were at a swanky beach party on the French Riviera. Or was it Ipanema? In any case, this would have been a fantastic show for the above ground pool and sand set-up from First Ave’s past*. 

Polo & Pan is Paul Armand-Delille (aka Polocord) and Alexandre Grynszpan (aka Peter Pan), an unmistakably French pair who started making music together shortly after they met in Paris in 2012. Their music is difficult to pin down, to characterize succinctly without leaving something out. I’ve tried many times and just when I think I have the right combination of word vomit, I listen again and find an omission. On their Facebook page, their genre is listed as “French cruise directors,” and the most used genre tag on their SoundCloud stream is “space jungle.” So I guess that’s what it’s called. 

Polo & Pan live at First Avenue - Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

If you’re wondering, the best I came up with was acid circus electro-lounge house. I know, I like theirs better, too. 

The duo brought quite the light show with them, with two pairs of signal lamp-style lights flanking either side of their tables, along with a few fully articulating spotlights and a few well-placed lasers. I’d never seen the signal lamp style lighting before, but it fit in very well with their music’s island/cruise ship aesthetic. 

Polo & Pan made quite a splash at Coachella last April, landing a coveted night time slot on the massive Sahara stage, as well as a spot on the live stream. Maybe that was what prompted them to make such an ambitious booking in First Avenue’s mainroom. The room was nowhere near sold out, but it was filled up way more than I’d anticipated. I’m not sure what the deal is with Minneapolis’ love/hate relationship with electronic music, but it can lead to some pretty sparse shows when a lot of acts finally make it here. 

Polo & Pan live at First Avenue - Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

Despite not having a capacity crowd, they poured on the love and appreciation for the audience several times throughout the show. Occasionally they’d come out from behind their tables to sing and dance with the crowd, their signature vocoder-treated vocals providing a warmth as comforting as a tropical ocean breeze. 

They saved the arguably best for last, hitting us with a trio of “Rivolta,” my personal favorite, along with “Naña,” and ending with their most popular track, “Canopée.” Like any vacation to a tropical place, it was over all too swiftly. 

Polo and Pan live at First Avenue - Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

* First Avenue: Minnesota’s Mainroom, author Chris Riemenschneider  

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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