The doors to Schine Underground on Syracuse University’s campus opened for a line of grateful students with chattering teeth the night of March 5th. For five bucks a ticket, the Bandersnatch show attracted a mix of fans and people that just wanted to listen to some live music. The bands that graced the stage that night both hail from NYC: ASTR—featuring Zoe Silverman on vocals and Adam Pallin producing—and St. Lucia, consisting of Jean-Philip Grobler, Patricia Beranek, Ross Clark, Nicky Paul, and Dustin Kaufman. The electronic, synth-pop groups jelled well together and made for a cozy night for the eclectic college scene.
For just two people on stage with a mic and DJ board, Silverman and Pallin make a lot of noise. ASTR is part of this new, evolving genre that is like dark R&B with disorienting electronic effects. Their single “Operate” got some applause from recognition, but the cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was the crowd favorite for the duo that night.
ASTR undoubtedly gained some new fans (including myself), but the prize that night was Grobler and friends, otherwise known as St. Lucia. The band took to the stage like a small army and put on a performance worthy of any Throwback Thursday. St. Lucia has an electrifying 80’s sound—but better than any 80’s sounds I’ve heard. Grobler, donning a blue paisley button-up, was a star for sure, with the appeal of any frontman and the angelic voice of a choir boy (but really, he grew up singing in the choir). Every single song was a hit, and I found myself, along with every other concert-goer that night, gushing over this 80’s synth pop most people never get to appreciate.
I absolutely love this band the more I listen to them (I followed them on Spotify as soon as I got home from the show). I’m itching to hear them on the radio this summer and would be surprised if we don’t hear more from them. The Brooklyn-based band is picking up speed and gaining some serious following, having performed at Lollapalooza, Governors Balls and Firefly in addition to opening up for some seriously big names such as Two Door Cinema Club, Young The Giant, fun., and more! In an interview with Billboard early last year, Grobler quipped that he doesn’t want to be grouped with the indie pop category: “I feel like indie music or that whole scene is starting to feel a little bit stuck…It seems that pop is where the interesting stuff is happening for me at the moment.” You can read the full interview here. St. Lucia is catchy like you’d expect from pop, but they are simply on a level all their own because they’re producing a sound so different from any pop out right now. Just listen to the single ‘Elevate’ off their new album Wait the Night, or ‘Closer Than This,’ which appears on both the new album as well as St. Lucia from 2012 for examples of their unique sound.
All in all, the show was great, the music was live, and both groups gained some new fans. St. Lucia should be at the top of your listening list right now.