By Spike Brendle
I have been looking forward to this show for a very long time. This would be my fourth time seeing Purity Ring, the first time being at the same venue (Crescent Ballroom) and the next two at different music festivals. Their new album, Another Eternity, is one of my favorite new albums, borderline perfect from beginning to end. Fast forward to mid-April, NPR’s “First Listen” debuts Braids new album, Deep in the Iris. I had heard Braids before, but never were they a regular on any of my playlists; this album changed that immediately.
I arrived at Crescent early, to enjoy a nice meal prior to the show. (Yes, I had a burrito, yes I also had a burrito there the night before, judge me.) Purity Ring was able to sell out TWO shows, and in a very short period of time if I remember correctly. I had tickets to the late show, so I was able to listen to Purity Ring finish their set as I sat in the lounge. At first, I had to question if I was listening to their record, or if this was really what was going on inside the ballroom. It sounded too perfect. The early crowd eventually shuffled out the front doors and the late crowd made their way in.
The show began with Born Gold, a fellow Canadian band the other two acts had brought along. I was not too taken by their music, but their stage presence and crowd interaction were very apparent. I was able to sneak my way closer to the front once they had finished, since Braids were on next.
Raphaelle Standell-Preston greeted the crowd and was given a very warm response. She timidly explained that they had discussed what they did wrong in the first show, and that they will try and fix it for us. The show consisted of mostly (if not all) new material played a little looser than the recordings, which gave a nice twist to the songs after listening to their album on repeat for the last two months. She expressed her gratitude and excitement for finally playing back in Arizona, as they had spent time here when recording Deep in the Iris. After about twenty-five minutes, she announced that they would be playing their last song, which was their latest single “Miniskirt.” Executed with perfection, it fit well as the tail end of their set, although I was not ready for it to be over.
Purity Ring began a little after midnight. The stage set up looked very interesting while the previous acts were playing, but once it was all set up and turned on it, was incredible. The strands of lights hung from the ceiling and Megan James wandered through them like a glowing forest throughout the set, engaging the audience on each side of the stage. At the end of the set, during “bodyache” the lights flashed what I could only describe as cotton candy colors and the crowd sang along to every word. It was a little after 1 am, and realizing this, the whole “leave stage” tactic was dismissed and they went straight into “begin again” as the encore. By the end of the song, James had crowd-surfed her way to the back of the room and the crowd was very awake and going nuts. To everyone's dismay, the song ended and the lights came on; it was all over.
This was probably in my top three shows seen at Crescent. (the other two being Beach House and Phox, in no particular order) What a perfect combination of acts; I wish I could have been with them every night on tour. June 23rd will be their last show of this tour together, they will then part ways. However, if you did miss the show, Braids promised to return in the fall, and Purity Ring is already set to play in Tucson in early September. I can not recommend these shows more; you are doing it wrong if you do not go see them!