Purity Ring Shines
Tuesday night at Republic was a show for the ages. BRAIDS and Purity Ring shared the stage in a packed house and closed the loop of Canadian performances that Rush opened at the Smoothie King Center on Friday. The evening began with Cecil Frena’s project, Born Gold. Cecil is a frenetic performer and this evening was no exception. His group’s performance bridged the gap between songwriting and the technical trickery that would be on display later in the night. After Born Gold, BRAIDS took over. BRAIDS are touring on their recently released album, Deep in the Iris. This record stands above the group’s previous efforts and truly highlights the amazing vocal talents of Raphaelle Standell-Preston. BRAIDS has officially arrived. Their stage presence was confident and slightly self-deprecating. At the moment that Raphaelle began to sing, they were able to silence a rather restless crowd, who until that moment had been looking past them to the impending headliner. They ended their set with the cut “Miniskirt” from their new record. This song is a knockout. So much emotion is poured into the live performance that one cannot help but be moved both emotionally and physically. The irony of this performance is that it inspires, in the crowd, the sense of abandon that leads to the dilemma of the song’s narrator in the first place, which I can only assume is intentional. It is a very clever way of delivering the emotional and cultural anger of the song through the connection the audience feels with the freedom to let go without being preyed upon. I expect to see BRAIDS headlining here soon.
Finally, after much anticipation, Purity Ring took control of the evenings proceedings. The duo of Megan James on vocals (and crazy light beams) and Corin Roddick on everything else (including percussive dragon eggs) has a flair for the spectacular. One of the things that I appreciate about Purity Ring is their attention to the showmanship of the spectacle. Their music is outstanding in its own right, but when paired with their painstakingly built custom light and percussion rigs the shows take on an otherworldly quality. In addition to Corin’s trademark polygonal drum triggers for his effects, the stage was also adorned with a waterfall of synchronized LED strands. Megan’s usual drum was hung as the moon (with a ladder for her to climb in order to play it) and a semicircular string of can lights that she both drummed and reflected into the crowd (please see the pictures below). The last time I saw Purity Ring was in 2013 at Bonnaroo, and they have grown significantly since that time. For one thing, Megan has grown considerably more comfortable in front of a crowd. She has the unique ability to be emotionally connected to her fans while seeming larger than life. For his part Corin's rigs have become much more significant. When taken together, the lights, instrumentations and vocals overwhelm any space—much less a smaller club space. If they continue on this trajectory, they will be truly unstoppable.
To Do This Week
On Thursday you can catch The Wild Magnolias at Jazz in Armstrong Park. Walter Wolfman Washington will be playing at the Little Gem Saloon on Saturday. Finally, on Monday night Katie Tempest will be at One Eyed Jacks. This is a rare opportunity to hear a rising star of spoken word and hip-hop. Don’t miss this show.
To Listen This Week
Check out this outstanding performance from Hop Along on World Cafe.
The Worriers (who will be in town June 20th) dropped an amazing new track via Spin.