Edmonton-spawned duo Purity Ring formed in 2011. A scant two years later they’re selling out shows at sizeable clubs, collaborating with rapper Danny Brown and crashing their own servers when they offer up free tunes.

A chilly Tuesday night at Ottawa’s Ritual Nightclub saw the launch of their latest tour with like-minded performers Spaceandtime and Blue Hawaii.

Spaceandtime opened the show. The duo of David Sheppard and Justin Karas have also performed under the name of Fall Horsey, in the baroque-pop vein. Their music as Spaceandtime is stripped down, with down tempo electronica supporting Karas’ Neil Hannon-styled croon.

Whatever the merits of their performance, it was put in the shade by Blue Hawaii. Formerly a more folky outfit, the Montreal duo of Braids’ Ralp Standell-Preston and Alex Cowan have also gone the electronic route. As they began their set (slightly delayed as they each tried to find one another in the packed venue), Ralph warned the crowd they would start things off with a slow tune, but they could get either the contemplative set or the dance party set. The audience plumped for the latter, and duly shook themselves about to Cowan’s bassy samples and synth work while Standell-Preston chopped and reverbed her own voice into its own chorus. Even stuck behind a tabletop of devices, Cowan bounced along to the beats. The audience begged for another tune and the band seemed delighted with the response, but it was time up and Purity Ring’s chance to bust out their stage show.

Corin Roddick’s beats take a bit more from hip-hop than the other two duos on stage that night, while Megan James’ voice resembles a spectral child’s. Roddick’s table of devices also featured eight touch-sensitive lamps that lit up and made a tone when hit with a mallet, while a swarm of wasp-nest style lamps were suspended from poles over the stage. A bass drum also lit up when whacked by James, and the audience was much amused by this simple stagecraft. James also did a decent job of establishing a bit of stage presence with her wild hair and black silk dress (plus a somewhat incongruous button up sweater).

They drew a big response for their cover of Soulja Boy’s ‘Damage’ (the download that killed their computers) and a slew of songs from their 2012 album ‘Shrines’.

The final effect was a little low key, but the audience seemed well-pleased with the synthetic spook show.















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