SAN FRANCISCO — A show that began inauspiciously turned worse for St. Lucia frontman Jean-Philip Grobler Monday when he fell and injured his ankle on the second of two shows at August Hall.
The fall took place at the conclusion of main set closer “Physical,” off 2016 album Matter. With the five band members all active, and everyone but drummer Dustin Kaufman jumping, Grobler appeared to trip on something on stage. He was helped up by bassist Ross Clark and keyboardist Nick Paul, who fully supported his arms on his way off the stage. A few moments later, St. Lucia keyboardist Patti Beranek (Grobler’s wife) returned and said Grobler possibly broke his ankle and the show would end. Reached by text, the band’s tour manager said a few minutes later that EMTs were on the way to treat Grobler. The status of the tour was unclear. St. Lucia is currently scheduled to play three Local shows later this week.
Monday’s concert, at one point, appeared like it might not take place at all. Someone or something triggered a fire alarm around 9 p.m. The venue was partly evacuated for about 15 minutes while staff tended to the cause and the San Francisco Fire Department arrived outside. All was deemed safe and the show began a few minutes late. And for all but the last 60 seconds, the set went off without a hitch.
The band blew through about 15 songs of material evenly split among debut album When The Night, Matter, and the recently released Hyperion. A trance-inducing “September” blended seamlessly into new cut “China Shop.” Matter‘s “Home,” and “Closer Than This,” from the debut LP, fit seamlessly alongside the new pastel-tinged future-scape of “Tokyo.”
Grobler and Beranek didn’t talk much between songs, but spoke about taking their 10-month-old son on a tour of the city since they had an entire weekend in the area between shows in Sonoma and San Francisco.
Following “Next To You,” which the husband and wife performed alone as a soft, stripped-down soliloquy, the band cranked the energy up for Hyperion cut “Bigger,” Matter‘s “Walking On Glass,” and new track “A Brighter Love,” which proved to be the night’s biggest cathartic release. “All Eyes On You,” perhaps the band’s biggest early hit, was set to swirling galaxies to swell the energy in the room, before Grobler strutted through the room singing the sensual “Love Somebody” to fans. “Physical” came next, ending the night following Grobler’s fall.
The Night Game, the project of singer-songwriter Martin Johnson (Boys Like Girls), began the show with a terrific collection of hits and songs that should be hits. Backed by a four-member band (which might have increased in size since he played BottleRock in May), The Night Game blazed through modern-retro cuts like “Back in there Van,” “American Nights,” “The Outfield” and more, before closing with “Bad Girls Don’t Cry.” Johnson even threw in a cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” for good measure.
All of the songs hit home, with the level of applause growing louder with each passing tune.
Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.