Polica - O2 Academy, Bristol

Like any other genre, electronica can be challenging in the live arena; it can go one way or the other: thrilling, whether due to the music or the stage presence of the performers, or just plain dull. Polica rocked up at the O2 Academy in Bristol for the first of six dates in the UK, culminating with a show at the sizeable Troxy in London, facing the same challenge that everyone who dares step up onto a stage does. On CD their’s is a slowburn mix of chill out and leftfield subject matter, leaving the question of how this would translate to their live show.

And the truth is that it’s somewhere on the less engaging side of the whole gig thing. A distinct lack of showmanship is partly to blame, with band lead Channy Leaneagh twiddling knobs on a keyboard and staring off to the side of the stage for the opening half hour. The show only really comes alive when Leaneagh steps out to face the audience and the noise amps up on the mid-show tripple whammy of ‘Vegas’, a storming ‘Chain My Name’, and ‘Torres’.

The twin drummers add depth, the heavy bass drives the sound, and Leaneagh’s vocals soar, but it lacked occasion or any sense of event. If you want to see an act do ultra-faithful versions of their album then Polica live would be right up your street; but don’t we want to feel something when we bother to step outside into the torrential rain to see a show?

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