Move over Barnum & Bailey, there’s a new circus in town: eclectic French duo Polo & Pan have brought their traveling troupe to Brooklyn for a pair of shows, and did not disappoint on Thursday night. At Avant-Gardner‘s Great Hall, Paul Armand-Delille (a.k.a. Polocorp, or Polo) and Alexandre Grynszpan (Peter Pan, or Pan) brought their Cyclorama tour to the United States for their first North American live show since before the pandemic.
Paul and Alex met in Paris in 2012 while DJing separately at Le Baron. They quickly joined forces to create Polo & Pan and released their debut EP, Rivolta, in 2013, followed by Dorothy in 2014. They released their debut full-length album, Caravelle, in 2017. Drawing on their influence from the EDM scene, the music they began to blend modern and ancient sounds together to form a new kind of World Music.
World Music is a phrase used to describe “music from non-Western countries,” traditional or indigenous rhythms and melodies created with the same traditional and indigenous instruments that have been used throughout history. Polo & Pan have mastered the art of using their foundation in electronic music to build a new future for these global sounds of the past.
After touring America in 2018, Polo & Pan returned to Europe and began working on Cyclorama, their new album, which was released earlier this year. The single “Ani Kuni” became the group’s biggest hit to date, enjoying considerable success on French music charts. The track is based on a favorite of Pan’s son, a Native American hymn of the Arapaho tribe, and perfectly encapsulates the duo’s ability to take the traditional and transform it into a unique powerhouse of reverence and excitement.
Related: L4LM Monthly Mix – November 2021 – Playlist & Liner Notes Ft. Polo & Pan, More [Listen]
A “Cyclorama,” for those who don’t know—I didn’t before I looked it up out of curiosity—is defined as “a cloth stretched tight in an arc around the back of a stage set, often used to depict the sky.” A more perfect way to describe the Polo & Pan performance at Avant Gardner does not exist. Aided by show-stealer Victoria Lafaurie, who sings on Cyclorama and tours with the duo, the stage setup brought the entire crowd on a journey through space and time.
Lafaurie dazzled the room with numerous outfit changes and a flawless vocal performance, giving such a potent rendition of fan-favorite “Dorothy” that I heard the man behind me literally squeal in delight. It would be hard to pick the moment of the night, but waiting for the encore, the lights still turned off, I heard the same squealer correctly predict the final two songs of the night, “Magic” and “Nana”. The latter of those two is perhaps the most apt example of Polo & Pan’s knack for taking the traditional and transforming it into something new yet familiar—and it’s impossible not to dance along to.
Lafaurie wasn’t done, and appeared in a sequin dress to close out the night. With every spotlight in the house shining on her, transforming her into a human disco ball, Victoria enamored the crowd with “Peter Pan”, one of the duo’ss first songs, and an homage to their namesake.
If you weren’t able to make it last night, make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. For a full list of upcoming Polo & Pan U.S. tour dates, head here.
Below, check out a gallery of photos from Polo & Pan’s first of two nights at Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner courtesy of photographer Chris Capaci.