Megan James of Purity Ring commanded the stage on Friday night at Eugene’s W.O.W. Hall. Local artists Tetra Bomb and Octonaut opened for the Edmonton native.
Sweat was in the air. The sold-out show brought in a young, lively crowd that was ready to dance. James is one half of the electronic duo Purity Ring, which is best known for songs like “Lofticries” and “Fineshrine.”
Normally, when James and Purity Ring’s other half, Corin Roddick, perform together, Roddick is producing the music while James sings.
Going into this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I love Purity Ring’s music, but knowing that only one of the members would be there and with the concert announcement describing the performance as a “DJ set,” it was unclear what I’d actually be hearing at this show.
Though I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to hear their normal songs from the album, the concert still rocked.
Octonaut got the crowd warmed up with some bubbly, easygoing dance music that involved a synthesizer and a drum set. Then, Tetra Bomb came out with some darker, harder-hitting songs which he sang to while altering the sound of his voice through the microphone.
With a long, single braid in her hair and a friendly smile, James walked on stage to set up her equipment and immediately said, “You guys over here sitting on the sides, you better just be taking a break. ‘Cause we’re gonna dance.”
And dance we did.
Even though James didn’t sing live like she often does, and mostly used her computer and other sound devices to make music, she was still so much fun to watch perform. She did a lot of dancing herself onstage while DJing and seemed to cue with her body movements when something awesome was about to happen in the music.
In her set, she started by getting the crowd excited with something familiar, “Lofticries” mixed with the background of another song. Following were several variations of hip-hop, electronic and pop all melded together.
For example, we heard “Don’t Tell ‘Em” by Jeremih, but sped up and with some synth additions. We heard parts of Rihanna’s “Suck My Cockiness (Love it)” in the same sort of style. We even heard a bit of Ariana Grande’s “Break Free,”which got the entire crowd singing at the tops of their lungs. Overall, James’ upbeat and ever-changing selections made sure of one thing: you had to move.
From a technical perspective, her transitions from song to song, beat to beat, flowed seamlessly. There weren’t any awkward pauses of silence in order to move on to a different time meter. And though there was certainly a decent variety of music, all of it fit well together as one cohesive set. Nothing felt out of place.
I left the show with sweat-drenched clothes and sore legs — sure signs that it was a damn good time.