The line outside the Thunderdome stretched far on Saturday night, with throngs of students waiting to vibe out to Purity Ring and Sweater Beats. Though my stay at the show was cut short when my ankle got cut deep by a falling table in the lobby, what I did see of the show was a light and entertaining affair.
After Sweater Beats set the tone with an engaged and energetic set, Purity Ring took the stage, decked out in futuristic spacesuits, to put on a show that was more mellow and ethereal. They were fun but not intense; a balance between danceable and chillax-able. Instrumentalist Corin Roddick hit floating bulbs of light to play beats, while vocalist Megan James sang her fairy-pitch siren song amidst a forest of hanging lights — a swirl of sight and sound.
Though not the most energetic of performances, the duo was enchanting enough to make up for the five bucks students dropped to see them. The audience adopted a unified sway rather than erupting in bursts of shouts and hands in the air, making for a mellow presence. The crowd reached a peak in hype when Roddick and James performed “bodyache,” one of their most well-known songs, a popular single off their newest album Another Eternity.
But that hype didn’t ride out for the rest of the performance, and apparently James at one point called out the crowd for not being as noisy and wild as she’d been expecting. I wasn’t there for this — by that point a gracious doctor was suturing up my ankle in a Goleta emergency room — but it seems to have been a bit unfair; the energy at a show is synergistic, the product of both audience and performer. Sure, the crowd wasn’t as pumped-up as they could’ve been, but neither was Purity Ring, a duo which inspires dreamy, sometimes melancholy emotions. So it balanced out. Although the performance was more chill than thrill, I was sad to leave a trail of blood across the Thunderdome floor in my flight to the ER — I was having a good time in the sway.