Friday night at the Magic Stick brought a much-needed burst of tropical energy in the form of New York neon-pop artist St. Lucia. A near capacity crowd packed the former pool hall for a glimpse of something warm, bright and fun to contrast the oppressive arctic funk that has settled over the city. "This is the coldest day ever." remarked front man Jean-Philip Grobler, contrasting the record-low temperatures outside with those of his balmy home town of Johannesburg, South Africa. A statement he's sure to reprise on his next stops in Chicago and Minneapolis. (Just sayin.) But just as he praised the Detroit crowd for their amazing warmth and energy, Jean-Philip and his crew are also to be celebrated for their brilliant, shimmering performance.
For just their first headlining tour, this band has the polish of a vintage Vegas show. A note perfect performance of mostly songs from last year's full-length When The Night was complimented and Elevated (see what I did there?) by a spectacular light show. Little time was wasted on stage and the crowd stayed engaged and energized through every twist and bounce of the setlist. For about an hour, the Magic Stick turned into a Carribean disco filled with 80s synths and infectious polyrhythms, and the crowd ate up every minute.
Perhaps the only misfire on a nearly flawless night was a slightly tacky drum solo that earned a tepid reaction from the crowd before returning to the jams at hand. But as a whole, Grobler and his partner in crime Patricia Beranek brought a positive vibe and genuine humility that really connected with the crowd. This was one of those nights where the band could have played for 3 hours and no one would have noticed. After the closing notes of the closing numer, "When The Night," the crowd barely dispersed, not wanting the party to end.
(photo courtesy of St. Lucia's Facebook page)
But not to fear, you can catch St. Lucia again in May as they accompany Foster the People on tour with a stop at the Fillmore. However, this may have been the last chance to catch them on the small stage of the Stick, as bigger and better things appear to be on the sun-drenched horizon for this band.
Check out more St. Lucia right here.