St. Lucia graced Toronto on Thursday, bringing their latest brainchild to the stage of the Mod Club: “St Lucia – Intimate & Acoustic”. As lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler noted after the opening song, the “acoustic” part of the title was used loosely – he played an acoustic electric for most of the show, bassist Ross Clark chipped in an actual acoustic guitar for a few songs, and they left some of their more electronic tracks (like the synth dance anthem “Home”) off of the setlist. Intimate, however, was an understatement.

The band was undeniably at their rawest. Flashy lights and obnoxious stage antics were left at the wayside in favour of a pure, unadulterated, musical experience. Each song felt like a complete rework – often, they played the demo version of songs (“All Eyes on You” was especially noticeable, in this regard) and most tunes felt like a breath of fresh air had rejuvenated them. It felt like they were covering their own songs, loosely reorganizing and reworking them to bring out cool new elements that weren’t present in the original.

Breaks between songs were filled with friendly banter between the members, riffing on each other, telling jokes, and talking about the tour so far. It was clear this intimate experience was as much for the band as it was for the fans. The whole band genuinely looked like they were having fun. It’s an experience I’d hope for any band to take at some point in their career – A chance to kick things down a notch, switch gears, and show their fans the sort of chops they have outside of just playing the hits over and over again. It was a gamble, particularly for a distinctly non-acoustic band, but the audience reaction made it clear – the love for St. Lucia in Toronto extends beyond just “Elevate”.

Here’s hoping more bands gamble on the love of their fans and try things outside of their comfort zone. Great music is always fun to watch, but nothing beats watching a group of musicians that clearly are happy and doing what they love.