NXNE Review: St. Lucia, Bear Mountain, June 14, Wrongbar


While I’m sure everyone was enjoying the big, epic and melancholic sounds of The National at Yonge and Dundas on Friday, I was readying myself for the dance party of all dance parties at Wrongbar.

Tried to catch Valleys at the Garrison, but unfortunately, I’m a girl. We have to get ready (actually I was playing the Last of Us on PS3, how good is that fucking game!)

Moon King: Heard the last two songs.  Not a huge fan of the lead singer’s voice, but the music was okay.

We then moved our way up to the front for St. Lucia.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia: Ever since LCD Soundsystem called it quits, I’ve been in misery wondering if I would ever meet a band that could make me dance like that again. Then St. Lucia stole my heart and made me believe it was all possible again. It was one of those dance parties where you don’t even know you’re dancing, getting soaked with sweat (yours and the others around you), I couldn’t stop smiling, and I wasn’t even drunk. When they said jump up and down the audience jumped. When they played We Got it Wrong, off their self titled 6 song EP, they asked the entire audience to sing “Don’t go, don’t go away” at the proper moments, we did. Loudly. We danced, we sang, we sweated, we were transported to a tropical island dance party with St. Lucia’s sounds. St. Lucia is the project of Jean Philip-Grober, who, according to his soundcloud bio, is originally from Johannesburg and traveled the world with a boy’s school choir. Naturally giving him a taste for all forms of culture, music and art, which adds to the unique style of the music he and his band create in Brooklyn where they now reside. The sax player that came out for some songs and killed it, he got his own solos, which amped up the audience even more. Also, just a side note, never have I seen a man look that good in neon since Zack Morris.  When they finished their short set, we were cheering, hollering and even begging for an encore. How could anyone follow that act up?

Which leads me to:

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain:  Any band can be a press play DJ and create dance music if they have natural rhythm (see: George Michael from AD and his woodblock), and read the instruction manual on their fancy machine, and that’s not to say I’m knocking it all, I’ve been to a ton of shows like that that I’ve enjoyed immensely. Yet, it’s always the bands that have that AND a live band that make the experience really great. LCD has it, Daft Punk has ventured in that direction, St. Lucia a ton more and Bear Mountain as well.

These guys are from Vancouver, part of our home and native land, and when they took the stage, set up their visuals, two triangle shaped projector screens, a lot of electronics, synth, and the guitar and bass, I knew it was going to be great. With only one album out, they hit pretty much every song on their tracklist and did an amazing cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”  XO is the debut release, and even though the singer Ian Bevin has been making music for a while with drummer Kyle Statham, they’re now getting a ton of attention. They’ve been invited to play Sasquatch, SXSW, opened for Bloc Party and more. It’s easy to see why. Their set is incredibly tight (minus the crash symbol falling off repeatedly, and they took it in stride), Bevin’s falsetto voice hits a Bee Gees style high, and with their blend of world music influence, electronic and indie, these guys are going to go far. They had us jumping up and down collectively, the guitarist crowd surfed, the lead singer played bass in the crowd during the last song, it was rowdy. At the end of their set they threw free CDs out into the audience. +1000 bonus points.

Only downside: we were stuck beside this weird bro and ho that were holding each other tightly grinding and making out the entire time at the front. Really gross bro. He ended up being my anchor when I was jumping up and down, so not a total loss.

Posted on by lauren in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast