Live from MFNW, Day 1: Purity Ring

All photos by Morgen Schuler

Purity Ring put out their first track a year and a half before their debut album Shrines was released on 4AD records. The enormous following the Canadian duo garnered during that time is a testament to the band’s powerful songwriting as each subsequent track earned them more and more praise. Shrines seems to straddle the brink between dark and light with Corin Roddick’s haunting production balanced against Megan James’ heavily distorted and highly infectious vocals resulting in a heavy sound that grabs you by the chest and never lets go.

Performing live on KEXP from the Doug Fir Lounge at MFNW, Purity Ring adorned the small stage with suspended white orbs which provided the only lighting for the entire show, adding an extra eery atmosphere to their set. Opening with “Amenamy,” Roddick began using several suspended lights wired to his sampler as percussion instruments, adding yet another level to the highly visual performance.

Roddick and James seemed to act independently of one another for the majority of the set. Roddick moved like a deranged puppet master, whipping his arms across his keyboards and distorting James’ voice with a practiced flourish. James meanwhile moved about the stage in a soft trance, occasionally banging a large drum with a handheld construction light. The two powered through their set, getting especially enormous reactions from the crowd for “Fineshrine” and “Obedear,” before closing out with “Crawlersout.” Much to the chagrin of the one guy who screamed “Encore” for five minutes, they did not play an encore.

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