(Photo Credit: Anna Chaney)
On November 13th I stopped by the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina to catch a long-time favorite band of mine - St. Lucia. The venue is older but so well-run with friendly staff and lovely drink options. You can tell this place has a lot of history - it’s the type of venue with old show posters from decades before plastered on the walls, accented with neon beer signs and a cute mural of a grizzly bear mauling Abraham Lincoln holding a PBR. I was getting great vibes from the start.
The last (and first) time I saw St. Lucia was in 2016 at Firefly Music Festival. Unlike typical alt-band set times, they were scheduled for a late-night show after the day’s headliners. Even so, it made for one of the most magical sets I’d ever seen. I was ecstatic to see them again.
Florida-born indie-pop artist Caroline Kingsbury warmed up the crowd. Her energy was contagious and the crowd made their approval known. (Definitely check her out on Spotify if you want to support a fantastic up-and-coming queer artist!) Soon enough, St. Lucia took the stage. Standing in front of a colorful rainbow and oversized spotlights, the set was perfect for the show that was to come.
Frontman Jean-Phillip Grober had a fan set up in front of him - something I remember vividly from the 2016 set because of the ethereal visual it added. It was something out of a Beyonce music video. Aside him on keyboards was Patti Beranek (who is also his wife) - the two share such a special bond onstage which really adds to the band’s dynamic, which is already stellar from the rest of the band’s exuberant energy. You can tell they’re having fun, which makes it fun for everyone. They played a great mix of classics like All Eyes On You and Closer Than This, intermixed with top hits off their newest album Utopia including Gimme the Night (my personal fave), Take Me Away, Rocket On My Feet and more. A mid-set drum solo by drummer Dustin Kaufman and Patti’s exceptional tambourine dancing kept the energy high all night long. My favorite moment of the night, though, had to be their performance of Love Somebody, when Jean-Phillip somehow snuck into the crowd for the first half of the magical song. It seemed as though in that moment, everyone was equally and entirely entranced. It was near supernatural.
Overall, I didn’t think St. Lucia could get any better from their 2016 performance, but I’ve been proven wrong. They age like fine wine. The visuals and production were electric. It’s not often you find an indie band that’s been at it for this long who consistently improves and draws megafans from 12 to 62 years old (I’m not kidding). This is a show you can’t miss if they come to a city near you.