There was a lot of love in the room last night at Lincoln Hall as Perfume Genius dropped in to promote the new record, Too Bright. The setting was intimate and comfortable. Comfortable enough that fans shouted up to the stage between most songs, my favorite being a guy yelling “Thank you for being yourself!” Michael Hadreas paused for a second before responding, “No problem.” The singer took the crowd on an emotional journey through twenty or so songs, growing more and more devastating as the night continued.
I’ve been a fan of Perfume Genius for a few years, but this was my first opportunity to see the show live, and I was blown away. Hadreas lays his soul bare for all to see, and in that I think most people catch a glimpse of themselves. There were a lot of eyes welling up from song to song, and he earned every tear.
Despite the raw emotional power of the music, I was surprised how fun the show could be at times. It kicked off with “My Body,” a dark, brooding banger with a nasty bass riff straight out of Depeche Mode’s playbook. Hadreas took command of the stage right away, letting out loud yelps and slithering to and fro like he would die if he stood still for even a second. It was a far more animated performance that I’d expected.
Of course, he did spend a good amount of time at the keyboard, and I could’ve listened to him play all night long. He sat down and delivered a flurry of three gut punches all in a row: “Dark Parts,” “Lookout, Lookout,” and “17.” By the time those were over I was completely lost in the world of Perfume Genius and never wanted to leave.
I was a bit surprised by how balanced the show was between new and older material. Too Bright just came out a week or so ago, so I expected to hear basically the whole record. Instead the set was top heavy with songs from Put Yr Back N 2 It and he also played a few from Learning. Fine by me because I love those records, and I think everyone else appreciated that they could sing along with most of the tunes without having to think about it.
Between this show last night and Blake Mills with Fiona Apple a few days earlier, this might be the best concert-going week on record (non-festival). If you haven’t listened to Perfume Genius yet, please rectify that as soon as possible. You can stream on Spotify; or, if you don’t feel like wasting your time, just go buy the records now.
Take Me Home
Body’s In Trouble (Mary Margaret O’Hara cover)
There were 2 songs in between here and I don’t remember what they were. Will update when I figure it out.
If you’d like to see more photos from the show, click here.