Friday, February 8, 2013
Live: Purity Ring/Young Magic @ The Mohawk 1/22/13
Shows don’t really sell out for bands in Austin. Usually, no matter how popular or how much buzz is behind an band, and trust me when I say they will still draw a huge crowd, it is near always possible to just go to the venue and grab a ticket there. So when the blackboard outside the Mohawk read "SOLD THE FUCK OUT", that should give the proper sense of how much people wanted to see Purity Ring and Young Magic. The emails, texts, and phone calls I made to make to make personally to secure my own ticket just to see the show was more effort than I have ever invested in order to see a show. But after I emerged the show, sweaty from uncontrollable dancing and experiencing minor seizures from the lights, I honestly think I can say it was all worth it.
Young Magic managed to set the vibe of the night early with their set. They came on stage without a peep, and proceeded to play a blend of deeply atmospheric blend of modern psychedelic-electronica infused with bits of a post-Merrieweather Post Pavilion sound. Dark, moody, blood violet lighting was shined on the band throughout their set while various film clips were projected on the right side of the Mohawk; the band was trying as hard as they could to draw the crowd into trance-filled, other-worldly sound. Unfortunately, despite being able to craft the night’s atmosphere, Young Magic didn’t really succeed with their own music. Live, Young Magic’s music gained unattractive drone quality that while fitting in with the general hypnotic tone, also made the music blend together too. Also, being cramped under Purity Ring’s stage set-up and their projects going unnoticed as well as being obscured removed solid chunks of their aesthetic that probably help to rise their live show. Instead, Young Magic set just felt meandering, going in no particular direction until it ended.
Purity Ring’s set, on the other hand was just the opposite of Young Magic. They roared to life, from the moment Megan James and Corin Roddick stepped on stage, the entire place lit up, both metaphorically and literally from the catacomb like light rig the band uses to enhance their both bright but off-kilterly dark style. It has been deeply impressive to see how Purity Ring’s live show has evolved through the years from when they were using mini-pipes to produce their beats live, to the introduction of the light-up, beat triggering lantern rig and homemade backdrop that followed. This show felt like a cumulation of all that, from the fully manipulated light scheme to the aforementioned illuminated catacombs that hovered over the band to the smoke machine that was the perfect last bit of atmosphere instead of tacky add-on. Not to mention the band was an absolute fine from, sounding pitch perfect the entire set through with James shining like a crystal and Roddick never missing a set with his production duties, mechanically jumping between his sampler, the lantern rig, and back. Purity Ring were so good that the Soulja Boy cover they included near the end of their set made perfect sense rather than feeling like a “why the hell did they do that”. While not every aspect of Purity Ring’s songs managed completely to come alive during their set (the more sinister and darker aspects being obstructed by the positive vibes of the dancing front row), at times did feel like hearing Shrines being constructed right before your eyes, something that should express how impress the duo was onstage.