The tree-lined area could barely contain the audience awaiting the head-nodding pop numbers that New York-by-way-of-South Africa’s Jean-Philip Grobler had at his disposal.
Oh yeah, and there was the big news that St. Lucia, Grobler’s pseudonym, was going to play new tracks from the band’s upcoming album When the Night (Oct. 8).
Many had already heard “Elevate,” an impossibly-catchy number that is currently available for download. But, there were also two other fresh ones that were in sync with St. Lucia’s danceable, synth-driven style.
Another highlight came when St. Lucia played “All Eyes on You,” with its hip-shaking groove complimented by a live saxophone, much to the delight of the crowd.
The band was clearly having a good time, too. Grobler, who was wearing peach pants and a white button-down splotched in florescent colors, largely stayed in the middle of the stage, but there wasn’t a moment when his feet weren’t moving. When he failed to stick the landing of a jump off the drum riser, he laughed as hard as everyone else.
That energy culminated in a fiery version of “September,” which began with a driving bassline by bassist Ross Clark that sets the path for synths to ease their way into the song. Building and building, there is an emotional crescendo that had nearly every fan dancing.
Family of the Year
Taking the Grove Stage before St. Lucia was Los Angeles’ Family of the Year.
The group’s folky rock made for a great singalong with their fans, especially on the sunny-sounding “Buried” and “Hero” from their latest album Loma Vista.
Family of the Year really kicked it into another gear with “St. Croix,” a Caribbean-inspired track that features a great guitar lick from guitarist James Buckey.
Frontman Joseph Keefe was effusive in his gratitude of the Lollapalooza audience, and after the club-ready finale of “Psyche or Like Scope” – complete with flying toilet paper rolls from the crowd – he offered a triumphant fist pump in appreciation.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s psych-rock was another style of music to grace the Grove Stage.
Led by New Zealander Ruban Nielson, the trio brings undeniable hooks and a healthy use of effects pedals to the mix. Their set on Saturday showcased not only Nieson’s incredible guitar work, but also the abilities of bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare.
It seemed that each song offered each member a chance to peddle their wares, with bits available to solo without stepping on anyone’s toes. Unknown Mortal Orchestra brought out the soul-tinged “So Good at Being in Trouble” from 2013’s II and the original single – “Ffunny Ffriends” – off 2011’s self-titled album.
But there were also new songs interspersed, as well. “No Need for a Leader” was one particular standout, as it begins sounding like it could soundtrack a 1960s-era car chase scene before fuzzy chaos ensues.