If you weren't at the Bomb Factory Friday night, you may have missed Purity Ring's biggest headlining gig to date.
Sure, that seems improbable for the electro-leaning buzz band, which, contrary to many of its peers, has managed to stay at the forefront of music lovers minds since bursting on the scene in 2012 with its debut album Shrines. After all, duo Megan James and Corin Roddick played Austin City Limits in 2013.
But as the lead singer James looked out across the sea of nearly 4,000 beaming faces, she seemed genuinely stunned by the enthusiasm percolating through the venue. And indeed, she contended it was the biggest show they've ever played.
"Honestly, we've been backstage saying, 'What the [expletive] is going on?'" James said emphatically through a nervous laugh.
Since the Purity Ring's last visit, the band released a follow up album entitled Another Eternity, which was put on parade during Friday night's concert to a cadence of flashing lights, beginning with "Stranger Than Earth," a glitchy tune that eased the audience into a collective body rock that grew more energetic with each bass drop.
It took less than 30 seconds for James to entrance the audience with her hipster swagger. Dressed in a white, skin-tight body suit and silver kicks, she strutted through strings of hanging beads to elevated boxes at the front of the stage where everyone could adequately see her bellow over the blips and beeps like a warrior shouting from a mountaintop.
Roddick stood inconspicuously in the background surrounded by the band's signature geometric drum pads, which lit up every time he struck them. His production on the new album is a much fuller construction of beats, and that shined in the live performance as well, especially during banger tracks like "Bodyache" and "Dust Hymn."
"Honestly, we've been backstage saying, 'What the [expletive] is going on?'" -- Purity Ring lead singer Megan James
The whole concert seemed to build with intensity beginning with Canadian band Born Gold, which struggled between identities as a pop-punk trio and electronic party band. Braids fared much better with its breed of downtempo electronica fueled by leading lady Raphaelle Standell-Preston's impeccable vocal range and control.
But neither compared to Purity Ring's performance, which culminated with a thrashing rendition of "Begin Again," during which James took of her shoes and crowd-surfed as she sang. And when she said it was the last song of the night, she meant it -- despite repeated attempts to lure the band back on stage, Purity Ring did not return for an encore.
The move, a rarity among modern live music, sealed an epic performance with a bang and left Dallas with a craving for more. Much more.