St. Lucia Brings "A Brighter Love" to The Royale Boston Stage

November 15, 2018 | By Alexa Portigal, Photos by Audrey Berlin

The evening of Nov. 12 felt like anything but a boring Monday night. Performing at Royale Boston, St. Lucia and their opener, the Arkells, filled the intimate venue with everyone from new listeners to dedicated enthusiasts.


South African native and St. Lucia’s lead vocalist Jean-Philip Grobler was joined on stage by his wife Patricia Beranek, who sang background vocals, played the keyboard, and dominated percussion instruments throughout the set. Other band members on stage included drummer Dustin Kaufman, bass guitarist Ross Clark, and keyboard and synthesizer expert Nick Paul.


Photos by Audrey Berlin

St. Lucia walked out on stage and immediately commanded the entire room with their experimental, synthesized beats, which caused the audience to instantly start swaying. The band, which mixes pop music with modern, contemporary beats, took the crowd back in time with their ‘80s style tracks off of their 2012 EP “September” and their new 2018 release song “China Shop.” 


Tonight’s show was St. Lucia’s last performance with their opener the Arkells, and the band made sure to do a special shout-out to their tour partners. Accompanying the warm thank you, St. Lucia playfully informed the crowd that earlier in the night, they had made a bet with a fan that they have not played their 2012 hit song “Cold Case” since 2014, but the fan correctly insisted that they played it last in 2016. “Today we lost a bet with a fan tonight, and had to pay him $40!”


St. Lucia’s casual, warm aesthetic was palpable; the band mates were all co-creating beats together on-stage, feeding off the energy of one another, and sending good vibes into the crowd. They used a multitude of instruments—cowbells, a windchime, a tambourine, a cabasa, and various drums—which created a unique sound for each song performed. Not a moment went by where lead vocalist Grobler wasn’t jumping all over the stage, kicking his feet into the air and running along the edge of the stage to hold everyone’s hands. The good energy St. Lucia put off was infectious, and by the end of the night, every audience member was moving their feet and dancing to the music.


Photos by Audrey Berlin

A few songs in, St. Lucia paused for a moment to acknowledge their newest album release, “Hyperion,” which came out this past September. “We worked on it for so long,” Grobler passionately said to the crowd. Adding on to his first statement, Grobler professed that they “wanted to capture the energy of the live band, so all of the [recording] for the album was done in a live room.”


Beranek and Grobler’s son was born amid “Hyperion’s” creation. Grobler pointed to the balcony section where their baby boy was watching with his aunt. “This next song was written for him,” Grobler said as they began to play “Bigger,” which is the first song on “Hyperion.” 


The rest of the evening was filled with popular throwbacks, such as their 2016 song “Dancing on Glass,” their 2012 EP album song “All Eyes on You,” and their 2016 song “Love Somebody,” where Grobler jumped down from the stage and began making his way through the crowd, dancing with fans and serenading crowd members. 


The night ended on a perfect note, with St. Lucia playing “Physical” from their 2016 album “Matter.” Flashing lights were bouncing off the crowd, with everyone singing at the top of their lungs and dancing playfully to the hit song.


The Brooklyn-based band created an atmosphere where the musicians and the crowd members were a single unit functioning together, giving fans a Monday night to remember.


St. Lucia’s opener, the Arkells, received the same amount of excitement and enthusiasm from the crowd. This Canadian group, headed by lead singer Max Kerman, interacted with the audience and won them over with their rock tracks, catchy song bridges, and classic boy-band vibe. Their 2016 song “Private School” was a huge hit, with Kerman asking the audience if anyone knew how to play the D, G, and E minor chords. Kerman picked an excited fan from the crowd to join him and his bandmates onstage, handing the fan his electric guitar while they jammed and sang together. Toward the end of their set, the Arkells announced with much enthusiasm that they will be officially announcing their headlining tour Nov. 13 which will go around Europe, Canada, and the USA, featuring special musical guests such as Lord Huron and Dear Rouge to name a few.