Live Review: St. Lucia at Pride Fest Chicago
Usually I wouldn't review street fair style concerts, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about St. Lucia since their performance in Chicago on Sunday, June 21st at Pride Fest. It was a weekend jam-packed with tons of excitement. There were drag show performances and other live acts including Estelle, Cazwell, and Anaya Day. Although I regret I wasn't present for the entire weekend, I made sure to catch St. Lucia's performance.
Jean-Philip Grobler, whose stage name is St. Lucia, was born and raised in South Africa, but his music was really born when he moved to Brooklyn. After collaborating with friends Patricia Beranek, Ross Clark, Nicky Paul, and Dustin Kaufman, St. Lucia took off. Shortly after, he was signed to the label Neon Gold Records who has supported other amazing artists such as Marina and the Diamonds, Tove Lo, and The Knocks. He's named his main inspirations as Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel, Madonna and other songs from his youth, and each one shines through onto his music.
They put on a stunning show and exceeded my expectations in every way possible including their energy, musicianship, and even friendliness. You could tell during their performance that they're a closely knit group, sharing glances during the set that revealed they were having just as much fun as we were in the audience. Jean's voice is enough to make anyone swoon and their 80's synth pop sound sent shivers through me as I heard the songs I've obsessed over since their release finally live and in person. I had somehow secured a place in the front row, and I must say it was the place to be.
Ever so often, one of the band members would get a huge grin and visually acknowledge a group in the audience that was going especially crazy. They loved to interact and asked for our participation in the form of dancing and even singing background for the song, "We Got It Wrong." We were even graced with a few adorable dance solos from keyboardist and singer Patricia (Patti) Beranek and a drum solo from none other than Dustin Kaufman.
Patti doin' her thang with the tambourine.
Lead singer Jean couldn't stand still and was constantly dancing around as was the charming keyboard and percussionist Nicky Paul. Revealed on his Facebook, bassist Ross Clark unfortunately had food poisoning but insisted the show must go on and put on an impressive performance.
Waves of emotion crashed over me throughout their gig. Mostly I jumped continuously as high as I could and proceeded to dance my heart out, well more like I flailed with as much gusto as possible until I thought my heart was going to give out. But then there were moments that caused me to stop and just stare lovingly at the band with a huge smile on my face. Thinking back, I probably looked a bit weird but honestly I couldn't help it.
Above is a photo of me trying to be clever during their song "Closer Than This." At that moment I would've said that, "I've got a feeling we will never get closer than this." But thankfully I was wrong! I had the pleasure of meeting the band after their performance and I nearly passed out I was so starstruck. They were the absolute sweetest and I must say that Nicky Paul took a piece of my heart that day (if possible, have his people call my people).
From left to right: Jean, (me), Nicky, Patti, and Dustin
During their performance they played a few new songs and I am ultimately impressed. I cannot wait for their newest tracks and the new album to be released. What I've heard so far I'm already in love with so I'm definitely sold.
This was unfortunately only my first time seeing St. Lucia, but it surely won't be my last. Their current tour dates are below (which are sadly a bit too far from me), but that won't stop me from waiting patiently for them to come back to the Chicago area.