Live Music: St. Lucia at Drake Underground in Toronto

On Tuesday night we went to check out St. Lucia at the Drake Underground; we’d been hearing a lot of buzz around them lately and we were pretty excited to see what the hype was all about. Jean-Philip Grobler, aka St. Lucia, is a multi-instrumentalist and producer originally from Johannesberg, who now resides in Brooklyn.

We first heard one of his tracks ‘Before the Dive’ on the Kitsune America release from May of this year. As we listened to more and more of his tracks and remixes on his Soundcloud page, we were increasingly impressed with the range of St. Lucia. Some of the songs from his 6-track self-titled EP are vocally-oriented pop tracks, channeling Fleetwood Mac, while others are more rooted in electronica. His remixes run the gamut – but are always interesting spins on acts like Passion Pit and Foster the People. Because of this diversity we weren’t entirely sure what the live set up for St. Lucia would be, but Grobler and the crew over-delivered, putting on a great show!

Accompanying him on his first trip to Toronto were four bandmates that helped bring a richer and fuller sound to the breezy St. Lucia songs. The band was tight – with the addition of bass, synths and a stack of sequencers alongside drums and Grobler on guitar. The lush harmonies struck between Grobler and the female singer in the band really brought some of our favourite tracks to life.

‘We Got it Wrong’ and ‘Closer than this’ were the standouts for us. Another highlight was their most recent single, ‘September’ with the band showing why some have made the comparison between St. Lucia’s sound and that of another fave of ours, Cut Copy. Earlier in the show, Grobler tried to engage the crowd in some audience participation. A Dan Deacon show this was not, with Grobler remarking ‘I know it’s a Tuesday, but you can do better than that’, in response to some feeble claps from the crowd.

However, by the end of the show, when the band finally admitted they only had one more song, the crowd was fully behind the band, practically begging for an encore that wouldn’t come. The band had exhausted their setlist – even throwing in a new (unnamed) track that they had never played live before. If that track is anything to go on, the future for St. Lucia is as sunny as the picture on their album cover.