Madame JoJo’s is absolutely packed, crammed with those here for Purity Ring’s most recent sold out London show. Comprised of Canadian duo Megan James and Corin Roddick, both formerly of Gobble Gobble, Purity Ring create a wonderful fusion of electronic future pop, and with only four tracks having been released in the two years that they’ve been together, the prospect of hearing further songs tonight is making the audience’s anticipation ever stronger.
At the heart of Purity Ring’s live set up is their immense drum machine and synth structure that stands imposingly on Madame JoJo’s small stage. Complete with optical paper lamps that act as drum beats, it’s a stunning and mesmerising piece of equipment. And while it takes forever to set up their table of tricks and unravel reams of coloured cloths that blend in with the cabaret environment perfectly it only serves to add further mystery to their set. And despite starting almost 40-minutes late, it’s completely worth the wait.
A seemingly shy performer at first – still dressed in her coat and shrouded in darkness – James only comes to life during their second song where she smiles and strips off her jacket, while Roddick decides to shed his glasses. From the gloomy darkness of the night’s first song the music shudders through the crowd, Roddick’s uplifting and ethereal electronics are matched deliciously by James’ eerie vocals and lyrics. Their only recorded output ‘Obedear’, ‘Belispeak’ and ‘Lofticries’ are the most popular additions to their set but the crowd still dance enthusiastically to the RnB-influenced grooves that they don’t know. As each song segues into the other, the audience bear witness to a pretty straight run-through of the pairs forthcoming debut album, Shrines.
Tonight’s show is equally about the visuals. A suspended bass drum with a coloured, motion-sensitive light inside and a single lamp become the focus throughout, particularly when James uses her makeshift spotlight as a prop. Combined with the eight paper lanterns surrounding the mixing board, it’s a sensory feast. Having heard the recorded songs, it’s intriguing to see how the music comes together in a live environment, particularly when the two play the effects pad together on their ultimate song – an extended version of the unmistakable ‘Ungirthed’. It’s certainly a spectacle and they exit the stage to tremendous ongoing applause.
“We don’t have any more songs to play!” James laughs apologetically as she scuttles back on stage in the darkness before the chanting crowd, desperate for an encore. Although the lack of extra songs is a disappointment, it’s also a perfect way to end the night – one that sees the band stunned by their own success and an audience clearly bursting for more. A completely captivating performance.