YACHT and Purity Ring at Velvet Jones

Portland Dance Rockers Team Up with Some of Canada’s Finest on Friday, September 2

Velvet Jones played host to a triple dose of nefarious noisemakers last Friday evening as YACHT’s scheduled performance was merged impromptu with electro-indie newcomers Purity Ring and Kuhrye-oo, who were originally slated to play at Muddy Waters Café. The result was an oddly alluring admixture of YACHT’s liturgical dance rock with the mystique beats of the opening electronic Canadian foils. Though the bands contrasted greatly with each other in terms in style and attitude, all who took the stage were warmly welcomed and given a proper send-off before their respective appearances at FYF Fest in Los Angeles the following day.

Early arrivers were first treated to a deejay set by Kuhrye-oo, whose performance drew heavily from samples of movie soundtracks, lending a cinematic overtone to his dynamically layered beats. The deejay/producer, who hails from Edmonton, Alberta along with Purity Ring, could almost be mistaken for a member of the L.A.-based Brainfeeder family by virtue of his diffuse instrumental padding and epileptic percussive layering.

Next up, Purity Ring tempted listeners with staggered drum and bass tracks, endearing vocal cries, and mood lighting that suggested less-than-pure intentions. Together with an MPC sampler and a custom-built drum trigger constructed of brass pipes called “The Binary,” the duo showed a curiously contradictory nature reflected in the way vocalist Megan James’s sweet voice sang of dark images. Though there are only three Purity Ring tracks available to date, the intimate genius of these Canadian kids’ live show suggested great things to come.

But with introductions out of the way, it was YACHT’s turn to induct their audience into the scratchy guitars, bouncy rhythms, synchronized dances, and the rest of the tenets that make up their self-described “non-denominational faith.” Perhaps “cult” is a strong word for the following that the Portland-based project has amassed, but certainly no other band shares a more open relationship with their audience than YACHT, who paused half-way through their set for a Q&A session to reveal their favorite dinosaur (Triceratops), and that they do in fact enjoy cake. Though their touring band is five strong, Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, the two incumbent members of YACHT, lend to their live show an unmistakable touch of the B-52s — a suspicion that was confirmed when they pulled out a cover of “Mesopotamia.” The remainder of the set consisted mostly of selections from their latest studio effort, Shangri-La, as well as a balmy cover of Judas Priest’s “Breakin’ the Law,” and finally culminating in the alluringly absurd chorus of their first big single, “Psychic City.”

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