Intimate and acoustic. That’s how the tour was promoted. St. Lucia leader Jean-Philip Grobler explained early in the set that after gaining notoriety and playing bigger venues following the release of their third album, they wanted to reconnect with their fans on a more intimate level. I think it may have been the venue (the loathed Irving Plaza), but the performance seemed more like observing a loose rehearsal vs. a proper performance. At first, it sort of bothered me, but then it clicked. Fans know St. Lucia as a polished, well-produced Brooklyn-based indie band. This experience revealed the passion and prowess of their musicianship. Jean on guitar (and those silky vocals), Patti on percussion, Nicky on piano, Ross on bass, Dustin on drums — they all riffed and jammed throughout the set.
Jean and Patti opened the show with the sweet ‘Next To You’ before Nicky, Ross and Dustin joined them on stage to perform the demo version of one of their earliest songs, ‘The Old House is Gone.’ The show got off to a sleepy start, but picked up steam with The 1975 cover ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ and ‘Closer Than This.’ Other highlights were a cover of Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ mashed up with ‘Wait For Love,’ and two newer tracks off Hyperion, ‘China Shop’ and ‘Tokyo.’ I also loved Patti’s story about the origins of the band and a demo performance of ‘All Eyes On You.’
My favorite moment of the evening showcased the beautifully understated vocals of Jean’s wife Patti on ‘Love Someone.’ Elevating her Brazilian heritage, she performed the song in Portuguese. While St. Lucia is Jean’s project, I learned from his stories that Patti is a great source of influence and inspiration, and I adore her. I have followed her for years, back when she would set up the merch table, and now I see she’s more the heart of the project and I want to hear more of her voice on future St. Lucia records. In the meantime, I’ll just keep all eyes on Insta as they raise their beautiful son, Indy.
Below is the setlist (sans the Paul Simon cover). They recently released a Vol. 1 acoustic album so I’ve included what was featured, but most songs are the originally produced versions. Hoping that means there’s Vols. 2 and 3 on the way.