A&E

[Life Is Beautiful 2014]

Life Is Beautiful: Is St. Lucia a band or a great ‘80s movie?

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Jean-Philip Grobler and the rest of St. Lucia rocked the Life Is Beautiful festival on Day 3.
Photo: Fred Morledge
Jason Harris

Some say St. Lucia is a band. But I’m pretty sure it’s a live '80s movie. The plot of the movie (which has nothing to do with real life) goes like this:

Jean-Philip Grobler moves to Brooklyn in the middle of high school. This is the '80s, so all the local kids think this new guy and his South African accent and style are weird. He gets picked on by the jocks, the cheerleaders and even the burnouts. But Grobler has a secret identity. At home, after everybody goes to sleep, he becomes St. Lucia, a super '80s, electro-dance pop hero.

He finds a group of outcasts who he learns are all great musicians. Patricia Beranek’s parents are always fighting, and she escapes by playing her keyboards. Ross Clark’s teachers want to fail him because they don’t understand he doesn’t respond to traditional learning, yet can crush fools on the guitar and bass. Nick Paul is the quiet guy who is too shy to tell the girl of his dreams he likes her, but she inspires him to push his keyboard playing to new heights. And Dustin Kaufman is the cool guy who secretly joins the band because his passion for drums outweighs his desire to be a star football player. They also have a friend, Neils, who is three years younger than them, but in the same grade because he is such a computer wizard. He has trouble relating to everyone, but is accepted by this group of misfit musicians.

Cut to Act Three: It’s the Battle of the Bands between Grobler’s school, Brooklyn Public, and their rival who always beats them, Brooklyn Tech. Tech smokes all of Public’s entrants in the battle, and all looks lost. That is until St. Lucia makes a last-minute appearance and releases their '80s dance party on the unsuspecting crowd. “Before The Dive” turns the crowd from skeptics into fans. Beranek’s parents show up and make up during “We Got It Wrong.” Clark’s teachers actually understand him through his work on strings during “Wait For Love.” Paul’s crush swoons during “Love Somebody.” Kaufman impresses the entire football team as he solos into “The Way You Remember Me.” And Grobler becomes the hero he was meant to be during “Elevate” as the crowd dances the night away. All the while, Neils is at the light board programming some of the raddest '80s Miami Vice/Pole Position computer graphics backgrounds imaginable.

In the end, it isn’t just St. Lucia that wins. We win. Because that’s how '80s movies work.

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