By Emilie Medland-Marchen.
CALGARY – A provocative light show at The Palace in Calgary was the perfect pairing to monochrome goth pop band PVRIS, who performed to an intimate crowd on April 26. They were accompanied by L.A.-based indie pop duo Slenderbodies and local Calgary collection, The Path Less Travelled.
PVRIS’ metalcore roots were on full display throughout the set as lead vocalist Lynn Gunn belted out hits from their most recent record drop, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell. The band’s precise genre is a bit difficult to place, but their downplayed aesthetic performance and haunting lyricism harkens to the likes of women-led acts like Evanescence and Flyleaf. PVRIS’ strength come in their intimate connection with fans, coupled with an accessible sound that conveys a lot of depth, neatly packaged together in a performance that could best be described as goth pop.
After tapering off a North American tour — which saw the band perform as a part of this year’s stacked Coachella lineup — PVRIS opted to pack in the hits in the first half of the show, performing song after song without hesitating. Gunn started the set on a relaxed note, opening with the toned-down pianos of All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell’s title track “Heaven.” The band then transitioned into the foot-stomper “Mirrors” from their 2014 album White Noise.
The all-ages show featured the expected teenage crowd, but a surprising collection of university-age attendees, couples and hip Dads could also be seen bobbing along to PVRIS’ singles. The diversity of the band’s fanbase is impressive considering their first record was released just four years ago. Since then, Gunn has been a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and her awareness for social activism is evident in the band’s universal lyricism.
After hovering on older hits like White Noise’s “St Patrick,” Gunn took to the drum kit for “Walk Alone.” Gunn’s musical talent was on display as she seamlessly transitioned between instruments, moving from the kit to lead vocals, and later taking up guitar and keyboards.
After pop ballad “You and I,” the band addressed the crowd for the first time. Gunn was playful and relatable throughout the second-half of the set, at one point donning a pair of sunglasses given to her by fans. Her bandmates followed up by accepting two more pairs, and the trio finished out the set wearing shades.
“These are my bandmates, agent 420 and 69,” Gunn laughed, to the delight of the crowd.
There was some trouble starting into the next song while Gunn tried to contain her laughter. For the rhythm-driven “Same Soul,” Gunn took to the piano to perform the song without her bandmates. The track functioned as an interlude while Gunn regained her composure after their playful audience interaction.
The band opted for 2014’s My House to close out the set, but cries for more from the dedicated crowd coaxed them back to the stage for one final song. Gunn got the crowd to clap along as she growled to drum-heavy “No Mercy” from All We Know of Heaven… The energy from the crowd swelled as Gunn held out her hands to fans and drummer Justin Nance tossed his sticks to the audience.
Their final song left the crowd begging for more, and after seeing the quality of this comparatively new band on stage, it’s clear that they won’t be the only ones waiting to see what PVRIS has in store.PRVIS, The Palace