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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Youthful Purity Ring provides a colorful performance



Indie electronic band, Purity Ring, debuted their first album “Shrines” six months ago. On Monday evening, Jan. 28, they performed for a sold-out crowd at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville.

In six month’s time, the electronic duo from Montreal released five chart-topping singles, one viral music video, countless remixes, one including rapper Danny Brown, raving reviews from critics across the board and, most recently, a European and North American tour. With so much success so quickly, you might wonder whether the band’s recent success would disrupt, or in any way diminish, their live presence.

Here, their youth is an asset. The theater stage resembled a mythical marsh. Floating cocoon-like lanterns hung from the ceiling and surrounded vocalist Megan James as she entered the stage. Corrin Roddick managed the instrumentals on his own separate set, making each loop defined, and each synth sound as luscious as the last.

The hypnotic vibes reappeared throughout the show, through both James’ voice in their opening number, “Amenamy,” and in the impressive light show. The cocoon lanterns shook and changed colors whenever Roddick looped his beats. Likewise, any individual and distinct note would light up one of the eight orbs of light that encompassed his machine. The combination of the lights and mesmerizing atmosphere that Purity Ring created left audience members in trance: a mix of dancing, awe and appreciation for the pair’s performance.

Purity Ring’s two strongest numbers happened back-to-back toward the end of the show. The first was when the band performed a cover of Soulja Boy’s “Grammy,” much to the pleasure and enjoyment of the audience. While the song was much more pop-oriented than the rest of the evening, it was an appreciated risk that did pay some homage to the R&B influences that Purity Ring sneaks into their songs.

The final song of the evening, easily the best and most energetic, was “Fineshine.” The fog was full blown, volume turned up and James glided across the stage holding a compass-like lantern, navigating the audience through the fog.

The show altogether confirmed what critics’ reviews suggested months ago: Purity Ring, with their quick rise to success, is easily one of the must-see live bands to watch within the next year. Their achievements are humbling, in such a short span of time, and do not interfere with their live performances, but do prove that we, as listeners and attendees, have yet to see the best from this project.