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11/18/14

SHOW REVIEW: St. Lucia wsg Vacationer at The Crofoot Ballroom on November 12, 2014



In the almost two years since St. Lucia made their first stop in Detroit their status has elevated immensely. The New York tropictronic(tropical + electronic) outfit headlined the same room in which they served as an opening act for Two Door Cinema Club one year prior. St. Lucia were back, more polished, more flashy and ready to embrace their newfound stardom. St. Lucia played Pontiac's The Crofoot Ballroom on Wednesday night with Philadelphia's Vacationer serving as opening act. The last time that they played the Crofoot Ballroom they had just released their debut album, When The Night, and were still learning how to adapt their album to the stage.  This time, it is tough to not believe in their potential to perform on a much larger stage relatively soon. Their songs are big and melodic with enough rock and pop appeal to enrapture radio with their future offerings. Lead singer, Jean-Philip Grobler, has honed his performance skills with years of experience as a child in South Africa's Drakensberg Boys Choir. His unique vocals are flawless and each member of the band proves to be entertaining and intriguing. Grobler announced that this was the bands last tour before heading back to the studio to go record their sophomore album.

This show was noticeably more polished as the band looked much more comfortable performing on stage together. Front man, Grobler, was able to show off his stage commanding showmanship with ease. They were also working with an upgraded arena-ready light show and new enhanced staging. Percussion is a key element for St. Lucia, two of the five band members play percussion, though on “Wait For Love” four fifths of the band were playing percussion. Another key change to their staging was that the percussionists were now on an elevated platform behind the band. Their set contained favorites such as the Alt-Nation hit “Elevate”, the melodic “Closer Than This”, the dance infused “September” and closer “When The Night.” St. Lucia have made it to Detroit 5 times in the past 2 years opening for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Foster The People and Two Door Cinema Club, and if all goes right, as it seems it is, they'll continue on to headline much larger venues. Let me just say this, this was my fifth time seeing St. Lucia and every single time has been much more impressive than the last.

Philadelphia's Vacationer opened the evening with a short, but spirited set of their brand of island friendly rock music. They played much of their 2014 release, Relief. The biggest response during their set was during alternative radio mainstay, “The Wild Life”, and the chilled out “Everybody Knows”. Lead singer, Kenny Vasoli, is particularly animated and interactive with the audience. Their set on Wednesday evening went back and forth between chill music and party music. Vacationer fans seemed to be out in full force, as many of them packed in early in the evening to get a good viewing spot for this up-and-coming band.