Purity Ring | 10.25.16

Megan James’ melodic and soothing vocals were performed flawlessly in contrast to the often ominous electronic pop instrumentals for which the duo is famous.

purity-ring

Ogden Theatre, Denver

On Tuesday night, the sold-out crowd eagerly awaited for the headliner to come out. Everyone surged with delight as Megan James and Corin Roddick stepped on the Ogden Theatre stage. It was lit up, with bright strings of light from floor-to-ceiling across the entire stage, in the center what appeared to be some futuristic drum set, or an avant garde art piece. As the two appeared, the lights began to move and flow through the stage in rhythm with the music.

They chose to open with “Heartsigh,” the first track on their sophomore album Another Eternity. It was a perfect choice, because the delayed start to the song naturally brought suspense and drama to the beginning of their set. James’ melodic and soothing vocals were performed flawlessly in contrast to the often ominous electronic pop instrumentals for which the duo is famous.

James was backlit with wind blowing her hair and dress throughout the show, all while the strings of light continued to pulse with the beat. The visual aesthetic matches the band in many ways: very unique, creative, and original, but often repetitive, too. While the show never quite got boring, it did become somewhat hypnotizing in a way. This sensation throughout the concert causes you to lose track of time, and your sense of what you are listening to. Although that may have been what they were going for, I have never received those feelings from their albums.

At multiple times during the show, James attempted to change up the repetition to which the show would often progress. A couple of times, she joined Roddick center stage to play the big art piece: the light-up drum set. In another instance, she went up into the moon-esque circle above the back center of the stage. Inside of this, she played the sides of the walls as if they were drums. The only problem was that, after each attempt like this, they went back to business as usual and the repetition would begin again.

One thing was clearly missing throughout the performance: Almost no one attempted to sing along, and those who tried had very little success. Even though the songs of Purity Ring all seem slow and easy enough to sing with, they really aren’t. That contributed to a feeling that something was missing from the concert, and caused the band to struggle to connect with concertgoers.

One of their earlier successful songs, “Fireshrine,” drew the crowd back in and built back up the excitement for the show. Once they finished that passionate track, the crowd was clearly engaged again. James announced that the next song would be their last; there would be no encore. They decided to end the evening with “Begin Again,” the powerful, eerie note that it is. The show ended, the duo exited the stage, and we filed quietly and orderly out the theater, as if in some sort of artful trance. | Mike Bain

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