“I know it’s Thursday but really, this is like Friday night!” St. Lucia leader Jean-Philip Grobler yelled to the crowd at the sold-out Fonda Theatre midway through their energetic set. The crowd needed no prodding from Grobler as they would dance all night to their tropical tunes over the course of more than an hour.
Fresh off the release of their second full-length album Matter, Grobler and his band took the stage to raucous applause and anticipation a little after 10 PM. They kicked things off with “Rescue Me” and “Do You Remember?” — two cuts from the new album — before turning it back with fan-favorite “Closer Than This.” One thing that was clear right away was that St. Lucia’s new album is a hit with their fans, who seemed to know all the words to those songs already.
The biggest hits with the crowd from the latest album were definitely its first singles. “Dancing On Glass” had people oooohing in appreciation with its recognizable opening notes. “How long ’til we learn dancing is dangerous” Grobler shouted with the crowd in unison for the song’s memorable chorus.
Every song is just so upbeat and you couldn’t help but be moved to dance. I myself was still dealing with a flu I got from CRSSD Fest the previous weekend but St. Lucia was the only cure I needed on this night. You can’t help but be positively affected by their upbeat demeanor and sounds. To see their sound reproduced on stage is also a thing of beauty. An insane amount of percussion, plus Grobler’s wife Patti Beranek on keys and a variety of other instruments help give them that tropical synthpop sound they’ve come to be known for.
For older jam “All Eyes On You,” the band was joined on stage by Capital Cities touring member Spencer Ludwig, who elicited a killer trumpet solo. For “Love Somebody,” Grobler went into the crowd and walked with a cordless mic, serenading the entire standing room floor.
“The Winds of Change” — one of my favorites off the new album, sounds even better live than on the record. Grobler’s falsetto in the chorus was mesmerizing. The production and lighting on stage is pretty awesome and fitting, with some nice plants even furthering that tropical feel. One of the big dance numbers was the other big single from the new record “Physical,” the lyrics a bit nonsensical but nonetheless incredibly fun to dance to.
The band closed the show with “Elevate” in their encore, with Ludwig returning for a trumpet solo. St. Lucia is a can’t-miss live show that was one of the few I’ve seen this year that the entire crowd danced from start to finish. Your ankles may hate you later but if you like to dance and have a good time, you got to catch them on tour.
Opening act Grace Mitchell really wowed me with her performance. The teenaged-singer delivered the goods and has the potential to author more than her fair share of hits. “NoLo” was the standout track of her set that definitely has me wanting to see more. She has similar pop sensibilities to Carly Rae Jepsen and definitely has a bright future ahead of her.
Words: Mark E. Ortega
WATCH ST. LUCIA PERFORM “DANCING ON GLASS” FROM THE FONDA THEATRE BELOW: