Canadian electronic and art-pop duo Purity Ring wrapped up a two-night NYC run on Sunday, June 26th, at Bushwick’s Brooklyn Steel. The band played the previous night at Webster Hall, all while celebrating their first EP Graves, released earlier in June on The Fellowship Records. The “Tour de Womb” was initially scheduled for early 2020 to coincide with the release of Purity Ring’s third LP, Womb, but had to be pushed back and was rescheduled twice because of the pandemic.
This year, it has become the norm for bands to make the live debut of albums that are nearly two years old. Fans who held onto their tickets were treated to a visual production that was quite unique, especially for a duo. Multi-instrumentalist Corin Roddick was behind a semi-transparent screen at the helm of a futuristic-looking drum and synth kit. There was another screen behind Corin, who was consumed by the musically-synced visuals. As he hit one of the drum pads, sparkling light trails emanated from the same spot, creating a mystical appearance that drew you in as the song progressed. The multi-layered projections gave the audience a rich and nearly 3D perspective especially as vocalist Megan James would move in and out of the layered screens. She was able to project herself as larger than life while on an elevated platform in front of the stage or blend into the visuals by joining Corin in between.
Purity Ring performed both Womb and Graves songs live for the first time. The show began with Womb standout “pink lightning” followed by Graves single “soshy”. After rebounding from some slight technical difficulties they played Shrines’ “Obedear”, back to Womb for “i like the devil” and finally hitting Another Eternity with “push pull”. The duo continued to bounce around their catalog for the rest of the show, filling in a 21-song setlist including Deftones and Alice DeeJay covers.
Megan wore a flowing white outfit that served as a mobile projection screen. Moving in and out of shadows and projections throughout the show, the costume appeared to be evolving as different colors and textures danced along with her. When the duo performed “rubyinsides” and “Belispeak”, Megan got on tall stilts while wearing a 25-foot-long dress that flowed over the edge of the stage. Appearing almost like a mythical witch, Megan commanded the room’s attention as she was also immersed in the visuals, high above the stage. It was the most dramatic moment of the show—her intense vocals and on-stage presence locked your attention on her as if under a spell.
Midway through the show, Megan took a moment to thank the fans and staff for adhering to their N95 mask policy. Free masks were offered upon entry so everyone would have access to one. Megan explained how canceling shows was not only costly but incredibly disappointing to those waiting so long to see the band. “Fans in the next city appreciate your help in making the show go on,” she added. Those sentiments were repeated again before the duo played “begin again”, the last song of the night. A fan favorite with an infectious and triumphant chorus, the song felt like the climax of years of anticipation.
The tour runs through the rest of July with a full set of dates on the west coast. Check out the gallery below for more photos from the show at Brooklyn Steel: