Published May 06, 2013The pairing of Edmonton's Purity Ring and Montreal's Blue Hawaii on a bill is symbiotic in many ways. Aesthetically opposites, but sonically complementary, the two acts exhibit some of Canada's most interesting forays into electronic, dance and pop music, and both have their individually compelling ways of presenting their music.
Live, Blue Hawaii abandon all structure and lighting. Straying away from the neatly arranged layers of their songs on their latest album, Untogether, Raph and Agor unravel their melodies in a way that can only be described as "Blue Hawaii remixes Blue Hawaii." Mostly improvised with samples, machines and live vocals, the key of spontaneity adds excitement to their live set, something that begins to wane after several listens to their recordings. But buried in the darkness of their dimly lit set, their part performance, part DJ set kept the audience on their toes. And the fluidity of their transitions is something that we see a glimpse of on record, but we are convinced of onstage.
Alternatively, headliners Purity Ring have built a successful live act out of structure and lighting so elaborate that applause was equally divided between the band's tight set and the meticulous suspension of lights floating above the stage. The perfectly timed lanterns are probably an important reason why the duo stick to the script with their songs, though, and that comes with its pros and cons. After several tours behind their debut album, Shrines, it's evident that the band are well-rehearsed and have everything from the timing of the lights to the set list down to a tee. It's consistent, it's mesmerizing (the first few times you see it) and it becomes predictable. Sunday night's show at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall marks the last show of their five-week tour and hopefully the band can work on more material before heading on the road again. Otherwise, not even lights can draw a bigger crowd.