Synthpop act St. Lucia replicates the sound of its albums when performing live, but for the band’s first-ever gig in Santa Barbara, it won’t.
A regular performance from the group finds them “hiding between a wall of sound,” as its singer and guitarist Jean-Phillip Grobler put it.
But on Aug. 1 the band, consisting of Mr. Grobler, his wife, Patti Beranek, Ross Clark, Dustin Kaufman, and Nick Paul, will strip away all the heavy-duty amplification for an acoustic outdoor show on the poolside of the boutique Kimpton Goodland Hotel, as part of the hotel’s “Kimpton Off The Record” concert series.
This Thursday’s set will continue the stripped-back approach the band has carried out throughout this year’s Intimate and Acoustic Tour, which it embarked on to promote its 2019 release Acoustic Vol. 1, an EP containing acoustic renditions of its back catalogue. According to the singer, he and his bandmates are still “feeling that vibe” from the tour and thought it would be best to continue with it for “Kimpton Off The Record.” The show’s setlist will consist of songs from their three LPs: 2013’s “When the Night,” 2016’s “Matter,” and 2018’s “Hyperion.”
Mr. Grobler told the News-Press that he’s looking forward to the show and letting the music go wherever it will. While his group ordinarily recreates its recordings on stage, the singer said he has enjoyed changing the musical approach to be more like that of his favorite bands: Offering renditions of familiar songs that are different than the album versions. Unlike its usual show, the acoustic gigs don’t find the band constrained to a click track or metronome, so the musicians have more freedom to change up the songs during performances.
“It’s fun because it can change show to show. We can just extend the outro and whatnot. This show will be a continuation of this philosophy,” Mr. Grobler said.
While he doesn’t prefer performing unplugged to the band’s usual gigs or vice versa, the frontman did say he finds the changeup “refreshing” and a way to keep him and his bandmates from getting too set in their ways. Describing the acoustic shows as going “back to our roots,” he believes stripping the band down to its bare essentials has made the members better at what they do.
“It’s like when you go home and realize the things you did as a kid. That improves your adult self,” he said.
For Mr. Grobler, turning a synthpop song into an acoustic song isn’t a challenge, and the band has now found a simpler method of performing in that style that works better than their earlier attempts at playing acoustically. The singer doesn’t fondly remember their first few years’ worth of acoustic gigs.
“There were a few years where acoustic sets felt terrible, but the way we do it now — we commit to playing one instrument each. It’s like we’re drawing a sketch of a famous painting.”
Though he didn’t go into too much detail about the band’s plans going into the new decade, he did reveal that the group has been playing in the studio and “figuring out songs” that will soon be released.
“We’re going to have a lot of this music coming out in the not too distant future,” he said.
Tickets for St. Lucia’s “Kimpton Off The Record” performance are available online atihg.com/kimptonhotels. The list of performances can be reached by clicking “Kimpton Off The Record” in the middle of the webpage. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show will run from 7 to 10 p.m. The Kimpton Goodland Hotel is at 5650 Calle Real in Goleta.