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Review: Purity Ring impresses electronic fans and others alike at McDonald Theatre show

Electronic music has become a popular genre in this decade among college students and younger generations, and Eugene, Ore. is definitely not untouched by that fact. Beckoning in many artists in the last few years under the wide electronic music umbrella like experimental artist Baths, chillwave musician Washed Out and dubstep phenom Skrillex, Eugene has not given fans of the broad and ever-evolving genre much to complain about. And fans definitely weren’t complaining at the Purity Ring show on Sunday night, Oct. 4 at McDonald Theatre.

The Edmonton, Alberta-based electronic duo of Megan James and Corin Roddick, formerly members of the group Born Gold, took the U.S. Billboard charts by storm with their debut LP Shrines in 2012. The witch house inspired album included dark and haunting hit tracks like “Odebear” and “Fineshrine.” Purity Ring’s newest 2015 LP another eternity continued the group’s rise to mainstream popularity, especially through catchy, throbbing singles like “begin again” and served as a majority of the material for the group’s Eugene set – the final show of the band’s U.S. tour before a European tour leg.

The night began with up-and-coming Los Angeles artist HANA who has received a good amount of attention from her friendships and touring history, notably with Grimes and Lana Del Rey. HANA charmed the all-ages crowd with her impressive vocal range and easily danceable tracks, proving to be a perfect start to the evening.

After HANA’s performance, Purity Ring took the stage. The band displayed a massive amount of lighting and gadgets that illuminated the cavernous, historical theatre. With drapes of rhythm-coordinated, colorful LED bulbs hanging from the ceiling and crystal-shaped touch activated lanterns that reacted to every hit of multi-instrumentalist Roddick’s electronic drum pads, there was definitely a lot for one’s senses to take in. Although the visual aspects of the set were extremely beautiful, they in no way overshadowed the gorgeous soundscapes created by the duo.

James and Roddick ran through all the hits from their first and second albums as well as underrated crowd favorites. The duo played with few interludes and James spoke rarely in between songs only to give a brief “thank you” every now and then. Instead of making the audience wait, the two played their encore, “begin again,” as the last song of their set without a drawn out break. This rapid-fire, down-to-business strategy kept the rhythm of the set sharp and concise, and in turn kept the audience attentive and excited for every track to come. It also helped for an early finish to the evening with the show ending at about 10:30 p.m, something very appreciated by many crowd members with things still left to do on a Sunday night.

Even though Purity Ring for the most part kept their words to themselves, the duo kept the energy high with James dancing around the stage, assisting Roddick in percussion at times and even crowd surfing at the end of the set.

Electronic music is, for better or for worse, here to stay for the time being, but with groups like Purity Ring in existence, no one should be complaining.

Watch the music video for Purity Ring’s “bodyache” off of another eternity below:



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Meerah Powell

Meerah Powell