St. Lucia turned the Hoxton into an electric jungle
Off the stage, he’s a sophisticated, mild-mannered and modest man, well spoken and collected. On stage, he’s nonetheless collected, but he colours outside of every line possible when it comes to his onstage psychedelic performances.
St. Lucia hit Toronto’s Hoxton in full effect Thursday, Jan. 23, in support of his most recent release When the Night. The venue was packed shoulder to shoulder to a nearly sold out crowd of just under a thousand. The entire floor was fully immersed in Lucia’s energy and enthusiasm, and the rest of the band just amplified the awe.
When the Night has received critical acclaim from every ear that it has graced. The album is catchy and uplifting, varies in tone and pace, and leaves almost anyone walking away with a sense of retrospective rejuvenation.
“I felt really pleased with the result of this album,” said Lucia. “It didn’t explode out the gates like some albums do, but initial sales weren’t important. For us it’s more about growing the longer it spends out in the world, and that’s great because people aren’t being battered over the head with our music.”
Their tour has covered North America extensively, and continues on throughout the U.S. over the coming weeks for a sum of a few dozen of shows – almost all of which are sold out much like the Toronto stopover.
“This tour has sold out insanely, in a way that we never could’ve anticipated.”
The band’s stage set up is something to behold, while waiting to interview Lucia before the show, I watched the roadies load in the endless barrage of equipment. I knew the fans were in for something special if they had never seen St. Lucia live before. Backed by fellow instrumentalists Nick Brown, Ross Clark, Nick Paul and his significant other Patty Baranek on keys and backup vocals, their synergy is unmatched by most groups of their genre, which is easily why they have garnered such popularity and fan bases worldwide in just two years of being out there.
Playing through their set of just over an hour, Lucia took the audience on a musical escapade of lights, lyrics, and guitar licks that entranced every fan, young and old. The crowd was made up of an eclectic plethora of people, which testifies to Lucia’s reach with his music.Lucia pours so much enthusiasm and enigmatic stage presence into his show that brings to life a passion for music he’s developed throughout a lifespan of musical endeavors. Born in South-Africa, he attended Drakensberg and developed his vocals in the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir. He spent much of his childhood singing, traveling and performing internationally, then studying in Liverpool, England, before being transplanted to New York to become a jingle writer.
“When it comes to St. Lucia, it was introduced to the world and everything happened very quickly. But in terms of my personal musical journey, that’s been a very long journey and much development has happened.”
Lucia’s music gives one the impression of escape and euphoria, and his lyrics touch on everyday issues that almost anyone in this day and age can relate to. He produces mood music that could lift the spirits of anyone, even on the worst of days. His live show exponentially amplifies those effects, and left the entire crowd chanting his name demanding another encore. Though as a new group they only have so much material to work with, but they put together an impressively long set regardless of their lack of a library.Not only is Lucia a fantastic musician himself, but he also produces other burgeoning artists in his spare time, and when he’s not doing that, he’s remixing tunes by the likes of Passion Pit and Foster the People.
Their tour continues on for many weeks to come, mostly through the U.S. In May, 2014, St. Lucia will be back in Toronto opening for Foster the People when they headline Massey Hall, a coveted stage for almost any Canadian band to grace.
Story by Devin Size, photos by ftfphotography