Perfume Genius brought new stage moves & lots of emotions to Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Matteah Baim (pics, setlist)
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Perfume Genius @ MHOW – 10/7/14
Perfume Genius (the project of Mike Hadreas) already had two great albums under his belt, but really took a huge leap forward for his newest Too Bright, which has him moving into weirder and more physical territory than his previous releases. His current tour in support of it hit NYC’s Music Hall of Williamsburg for a sold out show last night (10/7). Unlike the album itself (which warms you up a bit with his classic sound before entering his new world), Perfume Genius went right into Too Bright‘s weirdest song, “My Body,” to open the show. And the music isn’t the only thing that’s more physical; Mike’s performance is too. Where previous shows saw him sitting at his piano the entire time, for “My Body” and several other songs last night, Mike was only with a microphone, prancing around the stage and exercising new vocal tricks. Everything from alien-like falsettos to piercing shrieks have now entered his repertoire. If that sounds like a move towards pop or a “more fun” show though, it isn’t that. Mike’s as much of a tearjerker when he’s on his feet as he is hunched over a keyboard.
And “tearjerker” is meant to be taken literally. Several people in the crowd (at least where I was standing) were crying throughout his set. Perfume Genius makes the kind of music you can form a real connection to, and it felt like most people there last night had definitely done that. The cheers he got after every song and in the middle of most songs were huge. More than one person yelled “I love you!” (“I love you too,” he responded each time) and others shouted their appreciation throughout the night too. And Mike seemed humbled by the whole thing. He mentioned it was the biggest show they’d ever played here, and thanked the crowd so many times. It all felt genuine, and so did the vulnerability in his songs. Even during “Mr. Peterson,” an obvious fan favorite that he’s sung hundreds of times, the emotions in his face and his delivery felt as real as ever.
The show was opened by Perfume Genius’s tourmate Matteah Baim, who’s also supporting a new album, Falling Theater, which features contributions from Antony Hegarty (who also collaborated with her in Metallic Falcon, Matteah’s project with Sierra of CocoRosie) and James Richardson (of MGMT). More pictures from last night, including one of PG’s setlist, below…