Purity Ring at Ogden Twilight September 16, 2021
Reviewed by Justin Lagman
The Ogden Twilight Concert Series has been a beautiful part of summer 2021. It is bittersweet to see it come closer to the end. This would be my last show at Ogden Twilight and I was looking forward to Dawn Richards and Purity Ring. Knowing little about the artist I was still so excited to experience their music. I’m extremely grateful to discover so many amazing new artists this summer and will continue to do so the more I review shows.
A little backstory about how I heard about Purity Ring. I actually learned about Purity Ring from my barber. I mentioned to him that I’ll be photographing this wonderful duo. He jumped and reacted with so much joy as he was so nostalgic about their music. Purity Ring resonates with an older generation, I’d say more millennial. Their music blew up from a time when Electronic music was something new and refreshing to the casual music listeners. This era of music is still fresh with me. The Ipods, fashion, and music bring me back to my high school days.
The night was beautiful. You could definitely feel the changing of the seasons and I’m very excited for it. Ogden Amphitheater accommodates a large variety of people and a large amount of crowd. Luckily for me, I was able to attend with some really close friends and enjoy the night with the company. We made sure to stop by the pizza truck and enjoy their delicious slices one last time. The food choices at this venue were great all summer long and it’s definitely smart to get there early and enjoy the food and drinks while you listen to the supporting act.
Dawn Richard opened up before Purity Ring and she was electric. As soon as she started, there was no way her energy level was gonna drop off. Only joined by her bass/piano player and her electrifying drummer. A little bit of history on her is that her music is highly influenced by New Orleans. I have a huge affinity for the music and culture of Louisiana, and knowing that she was born and raised there is special for me. She also joined the girl band, Danity Kane and Dirty Money under the leadership of Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Dawn had this soothing yet powerful sound that matched perfectly with a slight autotune. She reminded me a lot of SZA and Ari Lennox mixed together. Dawn performed a song titled “Perfect Storm,” that highlighted her angelic and passionate vocals that were dedicated to her home of New Orleans. She also told a story of her upbringing before the fame. A lot of artists experience a phase of “starving artists,” and she highlighted that chapter of her life and poured her emotions beautifully.
She also covered “Shea Butter Baby,” by Ari Lennox which turned a couple heads and sang along with her. The crowd took a minute to warm up but once they did, the dancing didn’t stop. Dawn pranced around the stage and jammed with her bandmates quite often, you could definitely see the chemistry between them. Dawn was the perfect spark to this beautiful night in Ogden, Utah.
The seats and lawn area filled up with fans getting excited for Purity Ring. The merch booth instantly sold out with fans excited to represent their favorite Canadian Electronic duo.
The lighting was interesting for this set. There was a dj/drum set up that also lit up whenever they were struck by the drumsticks. A veil separated dj/instrumentalist, Corin Roddick from the front of the stage. I was confused at first, but I learned that it was used to show visual effects. Megan James (vocalist) stepped on stage with this gold jacket with ruffles and a giant hood that consumed her face. It almost felt like she wanted the fans to focus on the music and the visuals of the show. The best part of her outfit and her costumes are they are all homemade by her. The lighting and visuals were some of the best I’ve ever seen.
It was amazing to know that this was their first show in 4 years. The excitement the artist has to feel to be on stage must be strong. You could feel their excitement of being here. James’ vocals were crispy, soothing, and melodic. It was an amazing combo paired with the captivating beats that went on beat with the visual effects.
Megan stopped in the middle of her set to engage with the Utah crowd. They were a regular performer here in Utah pre-Covid and it still feels weird that the world stopped at one point and the live music industry shut down. For a couple of her songs she turned out the lights and did a quick costume change. Megan propped herself up on the top of a stool and covered it with a dress attachment that she also made at home!
Megan performed some songs that stood out to me. Some of my favorites were “Sinew”, “Body Ache”, Fineshrine”, and Loftcries”. These songs stuck out and it was a party. She would move and prance around the stage and sway her arms in the sky. Purity Ring brought eye catching visuals with water effects and lights going off to the same beats as the drums. Towards the end they played an unreleased song for their upcoming album. Graves I think it’ll be called? It was a refreshing sound and a totally different pace from their old music. Purity Ring ended off the night with a classic “Begin Again”. The night was perfect and it was the best way to end off my shows at Ogden.
The scenes of the venue were amazing and seeing Purity Ring fans enjoy their merch on the way out. I was extremely grateful to experience their first show in 4 years. If any Purity Ring fans are wanting to see them live again, the duo is definitely back on tour so if you can catch them live! Do it!