St. Lucia

Fort York Garrison Common, Toronto ON, July 19

Photo: Shane Parent

BY Matthew RitchiePublished Jul 20, 2014

With their unabashedly anthemic '80s rock attitude and throwback pop songs, Brooklyn-based outfit St. Lucia are a fairly ridiculous band to listen to while alone. However, their boisterous stage personas and sing-along synth numbers were the perfect amuse bouche before the rest of the night's EDM and IDM-leaning proceedings at Toronto's TIME Festival on Saturday evening.

Although other traditional bands like Smith Westerns, Haerts and Lowell suffered from shoddy stage set-ups and murky mixes earlier in the day, St. Lucia's were gifted with pristine sound throughout their rainy day slot, and actually sounded far cleaner than when I had witnessed them previously at the more professional Danforth Music Hall back in October.

With frontman and St. Lucia mastermind Jean-Philip Grobler acting as both head cheerleader and bandleader, the South African singer was able to will the crowd to life after hours spent in the pouring rain, transforming the Fork York Garrison Common from a muddy field into an even muddier dance floor.

Opening their spot with the atmospheric and victorious "The Night Comes Again," the band began a non-stop set of hits from their 2013 breakout When the Night. Tracks like "Closer Than This" and "Wait For Love" each got their time in the sun, causing crowd surfers to rise, Mary Poppins-style, into the arms of strangers, umbrellas in tow. Later, a saxophonist joined the band on stage to provide some blustery blues notes to "All Eyes on You," resulting in the most rudimentary chant I've heard from a crowd in years: "Sax-o-phone! Sax-o-phone!"

Stepping out once more to deliver some sexy sax solos to "The Way You Remember Me," the band played on, performing a spotless version of "Elevate" and cementing their performance as one of the more surprising sets of the day.

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