Snappin’ with St. Lucia

Snappin with St. Lucia

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Defying their Brooklyn hipster roots, St. Lucia, the project of songwriter and producer Jean-Philip Grobler, delivered an earnest, high energy performance for an audience of mostly die-hard teens Monday night at The Complex.

In a bold, entirely unironic move that went over the heads of many of the younger audience members, the band dimmed the lights and entered the stage to Lionel Richie’s 1983 hit “All Night Long (All Night)” as the crowd pump-up song. That trouble-free, good-time spirit would follow the band’s set through the rest of the night as would the ‘80s-inspired synth and syncopated African rhythms.

It became apparent during “We Got It Wrong” exactly how tight St. Lucia’s band is. They seemed an experienced bunch, and their set was confident and entirely in sync. On top of that, every band member was having a good time — rejecting indie band norms again by thoroughly enjoying their own concert and smiling through the whole performance.

Standout renditions of “Wait for Love,” which Grobler told the crowd was written about his childhood in South Africa, and “Forgiveness,” a bonus track on the band’s most recent album, had almost the entire audience dancing. During “Closer Than This,” at least half of the crowd was doing what can only be described as joy moshing.

The rear stage performers turned out to be the highlights of the night. Drummer Dustin Kaufman pulled a double shift, drumming for the opening band and returning to back St. Lucia minutes later. Keyboardist and bandleader Nicky Paul was the most vivacious performer on the stage and proved the link between the audience and the band second only to Grobler himself.

St. Lucia’s electro-tropical synthpop sound kept the young crowd whooping and hollering even during the ballads.

“[I was] surprised how their electronic sound translated so well live. Especially the singing. It sounded like [Grobler] didn’t do much to his voice in the recordings,” said Lauren Doxey, a sophomore in political science.

Indie swooners HAERTS (pronounced “hearts”) gave a six song opener that had audience members as enthused as they were for St. Lucia. HAERTS’ first full-length album, out later this month, was produced by Grobler.

“I really love St. Lucia. I thought it was a good concert. It had a similar sound to a lot of the bands that come to Twilight, but people here were having fun, and they weren’t too crazy,” said Brieanna Olds, a sophomore in communication and film.

Grobler workshopped one of the band’s new and unreleased songs, “Love Somebody,” with the crowd — “Can I get you guys to snap on the 2s and 4s? Yeah, 2s and 4s.” The tune was a snap track-powered slow jam to make R. Kelly proud, and we can only pray for its immediate recording and release (or an acceptable bootleg).