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A first time with St. Lucia

For the most part, as a hobbyist and want-to-be professional, I tend to shoot shows that I genuinely want to see. Most of the time, I have some sort of knowledge or exposure to the band before I take my equipment to the show and get to photographing. On occasion though, I’ll shoot a band that's less familiar. The latter was the case this past  Saturday when St. Lucia rolled into town and played the Civic Theater.

St. Lucia is the alter ego of Johannesburg born and Brooklyn based multi–musician Jean-Philip Grobler. Grobler has surrounded himself with some amazingly talented musicians to flush out a comprehensive and full sound. They include: Ross Clark, Nick Paul, Dustin Kaufman, and Patti Beranek, whom he is married to. They have an amazing chemistry together and it shows on stage.

St. Lucia has two studio albums and their latest, Matter, was released in January of this year. The set was only slightly weighed toward that latest album. The band's synth-pop sounds has echoes of Erasure and Yazoo (Yaz), which is odd since the album Grobler has often referenced Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night, OK Computer from Radiohead, Mew’s And the Glass Handed Kites, and Graceland by and Paul Simon as its influences.

As if the electronic beats at hand weren’t infectious enough, the band has crafted together an amazing live show, full of crazy moving lights and creative set pieces. The backdrop even made since in the context of the whole package. The audience was beyond excited to see what adventures Grobler was going to take them on, and he definitely delivered. Breaking the forth wall on several occasions, the audience was treated to something special and personal as Grobler jumped the photo pit and went straight into the crowd.

Having only two albums played to the audiences advantage and they in turn sang and danced along to every tune. The band came back from the main set and played a two song encore. The last song, “Elevate,” is where it all started and the audience went completely crazy. You can see more pictures of the glorious set here.

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.