After battling a harrowing two-hour drive from Ventura freaking county, I pulled up to a gloriously free parking spot a block away from Pomona’s Fox Theater, ready and willing to have my face blasted with another batch of live music. This week’s specials: St. Lucia and Two Door Cinema Club.
Brooklyn-based South African Jean-Phillip Grobler, better known by his stage name St. Lucia, has been sky high on my radar since I caught him opening for Ellie Goulding earlier this year. I was reminded of why after he and his live band took their places on the Fox’s stage and began filling the venue with a familiar blend of aural pulses and uptempo dance beats.
Although the tracks on his EP/albums are on the more muted side, Grobler breathes unmistakable energy into his live performances. Even a buildup-heavy track like “September” comes to life with a new sense of urgency. Despite the venue’s inhabitant’s relative unfamiliarity with St. Lucia’s material, the group elicited their fair share of venue-wide toe tapping and head bobbing, no small feat for an opening act. Should they find themselves on the lineup of any major festival come 2014, I expect their stock to skyrocket dramatically.
After some time, Northern Irish phenoms Two Door Cinema Club took the stage and were followed soon thereafter by the familiar pitter-patter drumbeat opening of “Sleep Alone” off of the group’s sophomore release, Beacon. From there they snatched the crowd’s attention and, much like a 12-year-old and his Xbox, never let it go.
I could go on about the dance party that went down during “This Is The Life,” the mass hysteria that “I Can Talk” kickstarted, the feminine swooning “Next Year” was accompanied by, or the venue-wide singalong during “What You Know,” but really, it all amounts to a rather simple conclusion: Two Door Cinema Club knows how to work their fans.
Perhaps the defining characteristic of any Two Door Cinema Club set I’ve been to is the audience’s familiarity with the band’s material. It’s not just the choruses and singles that are dutifully committed to memory; it’s every lyric of every song on every album. Even the brand-spanking-new track “Changing Seasons” off the group’s yet-to-be-released upcoming album was faithfully recited alongside vocalist Alex Trimble. For the record, I was not exempt.
Between the magic that was St. Lucia and the indie dance party that was Two Door Cinema Club, it was hard not to leave Pomona with a stupidly huge grin on my face and my faith in humanity temporarily restored. Catch either of them the next chance you get.