Purity Ring, BRAIDS give a sold-out Fox Theater Oakland everything it could hope for and more

Purity Ring

Purity Ring

By Marc Fong //

Purity Ring with BRAIDS, Born Gold //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
June 19th, 2015 //

Canada took over the Fox Theater Oakland last Friday as Edmonton electronic duo Purity Ring and Calgary art rock band BRAIDS captivated a capacity crowd.

Serving as one of two openers on this night (the other being Born Gold, Canadian pop experimentalist Cecil Frena’s songwriting project), BRAIDS’ latest album Deep in the Iris presents a beautifully bittersweet audioscape. Their performance at the Fox was equally beautiful and bittersweet and far more compelling on stage. It was as if the band was on a rapid journey through spooky woods. As they played, there was a sense of walking down a dark path illuminated by the muted warmth of a solitary candle.

At first, BRAIDS’ haunting melodies lulled the audience into a safeness, and then through quick and tumbling turns, there was an urgent complexity that was not only heard, but also felt. Frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice was production-perfect — eerie and wonderful all at once. On the whole, BRAIDS’ live show is indicative of greater things to come. Their sound, both in a recording studio and live, is sublime, fun and memorable.



Purity Ring’s performance, as always, was a dazzling audio adventure. However, whereas BRAIDS’ set was a quiet solo journey, Purity Ring’s was a full-blown epic. Known for its amazing light setup, the duo did not disappoint. In the past, vocalist Megan James would cross the stage as if she was afraid of the dark. Occasionally, she would hold a mechanic’s light in front of her as if she was trying to keep the monsters at bay.

By the end of the night, Purity Ring had shown how far they’ve come in less than three years. The stage had hanging lights. Instrumentalist Corin Roddick’s podium, once a small setup off to the side, was now center stage with giant crystals that lit up for punctuation, and the moon/drum that James plays sat high above Roddick, such that when she did play it, she needed a ladder to reach it.

Purity Ring

Purity Ring

James no longer feared the dark, but rather embraced it — just like she did during the performance and with gusto. She sang and stepped with purpose. The band’s sound was not small and fearful. Instead, it was epic and haunting. Not only that, but it also showed that it had more range. “Shrines” was a subtle blend of both the quiet and melancholy.

Purity Ring’s newest album Another Eternity (read our community review here) is a refined version of that sound but bigger. There’s a dance-y element to it that makes for a bigger, more engaging live show. One moment, the audience was fighting to keep the crawlers out. The next, they became crawlers themselves dancing until their bodies ached. Either way, it was an experience that should not be missed.


  1. Awesome cover shot dude!

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