The unseasonable May chill last night was enough that you could see your breath at points, but it wasn’t enough to stop a crowd of eager New Yorkers from crowding into Mercury Lounge for Pure X’s album release show. If their new record, Crawling Up The Stairs, were an exact copy of their earlier records, the chilled atmosphere would have been perfect for a Pure X live performance. But Crawling Up The Stairs represents an interesting change in the band’s sound; not a drastic reinvention, but a subtle tweaking that puts a greater emphasis on rhythm. Live, the band’s new rhythmic prowess makes even some of Crawling’s weaker songs powerful.
The band’s set relied almost exclusively on their new album as the band seemed eager to show off some of the new tricks they learned to expand their sonic palette. Nate Grace’s effects-laden guitar probably pleased fans of their old material, but bassist Jesse Jenkins took center stage with his rich, full bass lines and an excellent vocal performance. Grace had his share of highlights, giving a truly passionate vocal performance on new album highlight “Shadows & Lies.” Unfortunately, the dreaded curfew imposed by Mercury Lounge’s upstairs neighbors came all too soon. They’ll hopefully come back to give us another taste soon.
– Kevin Korber