St. Lucia w/ The Night Game
Vogue Theatre, Vancouver BC
Normally I’m not as excited for an opener as I am for the main act but this show was an exception. The Night Game opened with infectious pop music that sounded like it came straight out of the 1980’s.
Hailing from Boston, MA, the band was formed by the former lead singer of Boys like Girls, Martin Johnson. From his dance moves and stage presence, you could tell performing wasn’t something new for him. Last year the band released a number of singles and kept somewhat of a low profile until they were asked by John Mayer to open for his summer tour.
Momentum built up for the band and eventually, they announced their debut, self-titled record which was released just over a month ago. I can still recall the first time I heard the song “The Outfield.” I thought it was by the 80’s band The Outfield. The song is pure pop gold and has an infectious chorus that immediately had me hooked and playing the song on repeat.
Johnson rounds out his group with 4 other band members and did an excellent job warming up the audience before St. Lucia took the stage. They played all of their singles including “American Nights,” “Bad Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Once In A Lifetime,” also adding in a little Talking Heads cover. Colorful lights added a nice visual element and special production treatment to their live show, something opening acts don’t often get.
Johnson led the band with a charismatic stage presence, making eye contact with fans and most of all just having fun. I loved being able to see this new band live and strongly urge those of you who don’t know them yet to take a listen and join the party.
Because it was a national holiday for Canada (Thanksgiving), the crowd size was a little smaller than usual. But that didn’t stop St. Lucia from delivering an amazing performance and giving it their all, starting with their hit “September.” Immediately, strobe lights were pulsing to the beat as the band members came out on stage bringing an energy that was contagious and had everyone dancing the whole night.
Supporting their brand new album, Hyperion, the electronic-pop group played many new songs while also keeping their fans happy with classic hits like “Elevate” and “Physical.” Jean-Philip Grobler, the band’s lead singer, mentioned the length of time it took for them to write and create the new record and that this time around, they decided to record it together as a band.
Mr. Grobler is, in a lot of ways, the solo vehicle and songwriter for St. Lucia but felt like incorporating the entire group in the recording process would capture their live show presence. He reflected on some of his favorite albums in the past like Radiohead’s OK Computer and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors to inspire him with an organic pop sound that was both big as well as personal.
Grobler is married to fellow band member Patricia Beranek and they welcomed their first child at the end of last year. This served as inspiration for their new record. Grobler talked about living in a messed up world today and wanted to write songs to their child and focused on what kind of message they wanted to leave behind.
After talking about the new album, he and Beranek played the new song “Next To You.” It slowed things down for a minute as they serenaded the crowd with this beautiful ballad. But soon after, the energy level was brought back up with another new song, “Bigger.” There was a special moment when Grobler came off the stage to sing their hit “Love Somebody” amongst the audience.
He walked around the entire crowd singing the slow jam, stopping occasionally to dance with fans and connect. You could tell everyone loved it and being able to be so close to the singer. The band’s stage presence was electric throughout their performance, as were the visuals. Behind the group were a total of 28 square screens (4 rows of 7 across) that projected a variety of lights and colored graphics as they played.
One highlight was seeing a projected silhouette of choir members as they played the new single “Paradise Is Waiting” during their encore. The lights were streaming multi-colored throughout the night as the Vogue Theatre became a discotheque. Even though it was Thanksgiving, they wanted everyone to have a good time and were very appreciative of those that came to see them on the holiday. It will surely be a Thanksgiving to remember.
Set List for St. Lucia:
Closer Than This
We Got It Wrong
Next To You
A Brighter Love
Dancing On Glass
When The Night
Paradise is Waiting
Review and photos by Cole Whitworth
The Night Game