Five thoughts: Purity Ring at Brooklyn Bowl (June 23)

Vocalist Megan James sounds perfect—light and airy as always.
Photo: Chase Stevens

1. Braids has just taken the stage, and although the floor is full of bodies, many are too busy having their own conversations or taking selfies to actually notice. This makes for a miffed fan—especially since I’m more excited to see this opener than headlining Purity Ring.

2. No waiting here: Braids plays my favorite song,—“Sore Eyes” off April album Deep in the Iris—second. The dance-forward track’s lyrics are even more indecipherable live, so I’m wondering how many people know it’s actually about watching porn. The song builds layer upon layer of synth and percussion—the vast electronics swell and the kick-drum swallows Taylor Smith’s quick, gritty synth-beats. There are only three members in Braids, but each adds something important to the mix. It makes for a gigantic sound so beautiful it’s almost overwhelming.

3. “We just played that song so hard we killed a microphone,” singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston says. Drummer Austin Tufts’ overhead drum mic is blown, but the percussionist carries on, filling every space with hyperactive energy until it’s time to make way for Purity Ring. Braids closes with current single “Miniskirt,” and the crowd cheers after Standell-Preston sings its most notable lyrics: “But in my position I’m the slut, I’m the bitch, I’m the whore, the one you hate.” Before heading off stage, she pauses to say goodbye. “I don’t want this tour to end … This tour has been one of the best times of my life.”

4. I enjoyed Braids so much, Purity Ring’s starry synth-pop seems lackluster by comparison. Last time I saw them, it was during 2013’s Life Is Beautiful, and the band impressed with a setup filled with lights and beams triggered by percussionist Corin Roddick. Tonight they’ve brought similar gear, but after witnessing Electric Daisy Carnival this past weekend, it’s going to take more than intricate stage lighting to wow me.

5. The debate of the night (among three drummers) seems to be whether or not Roddick is actually triggering beats when he hits his cluster of diamond-shaped beams, or if he’s just triggering the lights. Either way it’s striking, especially if you haven’t seen the band before. Vocalist Megan James sounds perfect—light and airy as always—and the lively crowd, packed tightly on the floor, is enjoying every minute of the set. For me, the band’s high note comes during Shrines track “Fineshrine,” but fans seemed equally enthralled with the entire set, whether they were getting cuts from the duo’s 2012 debut or this year’s slightly poppier, dancier LP, Another Eternity.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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