White jacket with the sleeves rolled up, Don Johnson, the islands in a powder green Cadillac, heavy metal concert tee on the bartender, Caribbean drum beat, neon wayfarers, red lipstick on the harlots, let the good times roll, little drink umbrellas, huge sound, massive dance party; never has the saxophone sounded so good.
After the third song, Jean-Philip Grobler, AKA St. Lucia yells, “You’re f*cking amazing Toronto! Seriously! I’m having such a good time!” Thank goodness he is, because he and the four others backing him up, have successfully worked the crowd into a massive frenzy, and it would be a shame if the love and energy was one sided.
It wasn’t until the forth track that the mystery guest finally made his way to the stage; the anticipation of which was making the crowd go crazy; we had all watched as he did the sound check. The saxophone, usually reserved for your creepy neighbour’s night moves, blasted over the crowd. Mike Ruby, Toronto based sax player, has been outsourced to add some class to a few of the tracks and in my humble opinion, he makes the set. I looked over to a friend, “Saxophone?” My friend can only fist pump. Never has Kenny G looked like such a trailblazer.
At midnight after a long day of chasing bands, I struggle with being able to discern the distinct elements that make this band special over all other bands, but for a moment I relax into the melodies and look over to my friends who are all dancing with their hands in the air and I feel like I’m actually in St. Lucia; out on an open patio surrounded by a low white washed stone wall, salty air and the black expanse of ocean stretching out into the distance. Then I snap to and realize that I’m standing in Wrongbar, in Parkdale, Toronto, screaming alongside my comrades, peeling our feet off the floor, and I realize that that’s pretty f*cking cool too.
The magic of St. Lucia is his ability to transport you to sunny places where you can connect to the reckless abandon with which you usually approach your vacations, and furthermore being able to make wherever you actually are at the time more interesting because of his music. It’s like being in two places at once, a double exposure image; each layer making the other even better. Parkdale with a boat drink/ St.Lucia in gritty bar. St. Lucia is an amazing soundtrack no matter where you are.
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