Tag Archives: purity ring

Purity Ring & Young Magic @ Webster Hall: January 11, 2013

I was very happy to have Purity Ring be my first concert of 2013 at their first stop on this leg of their American tour, at the NYC show at Webster Hall.

A lot has changed for the duo since the first time I saw them in 2011 at CMJ: At the start of 2012 they were signed by 4AD and Last Gang Records, and in July of that year they released their stellar debut album, Shrines.

The difference was even clear from their stage setup – still the same arrangement — “percussions” on the left side of the stage for Corin Roddick, and a bass-drum type instrument that singer Megan James occasionally beats — but this time suspended from the ceiling were creepy/ethereal light cocoons that would light up in sync with the music.

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The fact remains, everyone loves jazz hands!

The fact remains, everyone loves jazz hands!

The synth machine setup itself had gotten more elaborate, moving from a handy-man special of pipes and tubes, to a more sophisticated set of individual lanterns.

I’ve always been impressed by how no-nonsense and professional Purity Ring have been despite the band’s young age. As per usual, their show went off with not so much as a hitch — with Ms. James commanding the stage with her sweet, yet somehow powerful disposition. Diminutive in stature, with some of the tiniest hands I’ve ever seen, she often elegantly swiped her hand across the stage, as if to cast some sort of magical spell on the audience. When she wasn’t doing that, she’d sway up and down, ball-heeling herself to the beat, or grabbing a portable work light with a metal guard and holding it above and below her face for dramatic effect.

Purity Ring @ Webster Hall

They also performed a cover of Soulja Boy’s “Grammy” — giving the rap tune a totally new spin. Loved this version!:

Brooklyn band (and CMJ 2011 TMA fave) Young Magic also performed, although my enjoyment of their performance was severely hampered by the unbelievable bass-heavy sound system at Webster Hall, which literally had me dry heaving b/c my vocal cords were bouncing against one another with every surge of Young Magic’s drum machine. If you stand front and center at the main stage of that venue, and the band happens to be bass heavy, you are in for a world of pain. Every time a song would start and the bass kicked in, my stomach would hold on to the rest of my body for dear life. I kept thinking – “I don’t want to die at Webster Hall!” (Can someone, for the love of god, fix that sound system?)

Read more at: NYT, BV

CMJ 2011: Day 5 – 10/22/11 – Purity Ring and Wavves at Fader Fort

My last CMJ 2001 musical journey was held exclusively at Fader Fort, for two acts I was really pumped to see: Up-and-coming Canadian band, Purity Ring, whose song “Ungirthed” has made them one of my favorite new bands, and existing TMA fave, Wavves.

Knowing that the crowds would be pretty insane for FF day 2, I tried to get there relatively early to catch Purity Ring. Apparently I didn’t calculate on being their early enough — because most of my “earliness” was chewed up waiting for people to leave since the venue was at capacity. But the music gods were on my side, and I managed to get in before Purity Ring got up on stage.

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Shrouded in near darkness, singer Megan James and bandmate Corin Roddick took the stage. I hesitate calling Roddick the “percussionist” only because the musical instrument that he plays is a contraption that can only be described as equal parts electronic drum machine, hand bells, Lite-Brite, and Pipeworks.

Frontwoman James is a petite little creature with an innocent face, long brown curly hair, and an apparently affinity for slightly gothy gear (demonstrated by her flowy knee-length dress and pendulum-style metal necklace thingy swinging from her neck). But while she may be small, she has a very strong stage presence.

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I’ll admit, the sound was absolutely terrible so close to the stage, but from what I could hear, it sounded pretty darn good. Exhibit A and B below:

After some confusing stage shenanigans, Danny Brown and posse gave what felt like a crazy short set — which involved a Tiger-style sweatshirt (see below).

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Then the last act of the evening took the stage — everyone’s favorite tattooed spritely punk, “your boy” Wavves, and his merry band of musical bandits. As expected, the crowd situation got a little crazy, so I cowered in a corner to the the left-side of the stage, staying clear of all the bouncer pushback and impromptu crowd surfing. (Getting hit in the head — like I did at my last Wavves concert — was not something I was aching to repeat.)

Wavves

The fast and furious set was definitely fun. Afterwards, when Nathan came out from “backstage” (aka – from behind the makeshift stage area), eager young ladies and lads huddled around him as he gladly posed for pictures with his fans.

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