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photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Purity Ring at Le Poisson Rouge - 7/24/12
It was virtually pitch black at Le Poisson Rouge last night (7/24) as the bass swells to Purity Ring's "Cartographist" began reverberating throughout the venue and the band's two members, Corin Roddick (beats) and Megan James (vocals), walked out onto the in-the-round stage. The first sign of light came when Corin triggered the bulbs of his intricate set up which he syncs to the songs by tapping them with drum sticks, and eventually lights were shone through the giant mutant alien eggs (as opener Headaches so elegantly put it) that hung around the stage. When I first saw Purity Ring at CMJ 2011, the duo had only three available songs, but still filled the room with people anxious to discover their live show, and they left one of the biggest impressions of the day. Now, on the night of their debut album, Shrines', release, they packed the sold out LPR with eager fans no longer just coming to see what the hype is all about, but who already love the band. Massive applause was given before, after, and often during songs, heads were bopping along, and if you looked around you'd see most mouths singing every word.
Purity Ring's set consisted of every track on Shrines except the closing song, "Shuck," and they left the stage with no encore. For "Grandloves," the only real misstep on the album, Young Magic's Isaac Emmanuel came on stage to perform his guest vocals and though it's a weaker moment on the album, it was exciting to see Isaac come out and perform it with them (they said it was the first time they'd ever played it together live). Like at their earlier shows, but even more so now, Purity Ring avoid the question that much production based music is plagued with -- what's the difference between seeing them and just playing the album loudly at home? The band have created as compelling a visual experience as they have a musical one. In addition to the triggered lights mentioned earlier, Megan drifts across the stage as she sings, eschewing the traditional presence of a "pop singer," focusing more on mystique than crowd engagement.
As for Corin, when he's at his boards, he's doing much more than just hitting play. Not only does he get physically more into it than head nodding DJs, but he's mixing this stuff live, often changing up transitions from their recorded versions, and further manipulating Megan's voice or his own beats and synths. On "Ungirthed," Corin even threw in what you Skrillex fans call a "bass drop" (I would argue that it was far from the first time the bass dropped throughout the night, but let's save that conversation for another time).
Last night's LPR show was Purity Ring's last until they kick off a tour in late August which brings them back to NYC on September 21 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (7/27) at noon.
The show opened with the US live debut of Headaches. More pictures of both artists and Purity Ring's setlist are below...
Purity Ring Le Poisson Rouge - 7/24/12 Setlist: