With one critically-acclaimed album after another, Mike Hadreas has channeled the struggles of love, hate, and fitting in with society, giving a voice to those that feel disenfranchised and voiceless. In that regard, his fourth and latest album as Perfume Genius, No Shape, is no different, but is brimming with much more positivity and love than any of his previous releases. It’s no surprise, then, that his performance at 9:30 Club was a confident show of force that ran the entire emotional gamut, from anger and loneliness to unbridled joy.
Kicking off the set with No Shape opener “Otherside,” his fragile,breathy vocals were accompanied by a simple, somber piano line. But once the cymbals came crashing down two minutes in, Hadreas came alive with hands in the air and upper body gyrating back and forth.Though he presented himself with larger-than-life moves and a unique corset-like outfit to match, he came off as endearing and down to earth. Cracking jokes between songs he sarcastically remarked on how difficult it was to take off his shirt in the middle of the show. Self-depreciating remarks notwithstanding, Hadreas’s captivating performance had people in awe, especially when Hadreas and partner Alan Wyffels hopped on the same piano for a quietly powerful performance of “Learning.” Hadreas has built a strong following and critical acclaim for wearing his heart on his sleeve, and in doing so, he has become a highly captivating tour de force that shouldn't be missed.
Opening for Perfume Genius was Baltimore-raised, NYC-based musician serpentwithfeet, who self-identifies his music as “pagan gospel.” Very much in the vein of Perfume Genius’s brand of deeply self-confessional lyrics, Josiah Wise’s vocals were very reminiscent of Frank Ocean and The Weekend, but making all the difference was his heavy usage of classical music backdrops to create very emotionally-charged music (like in “Four Ethers,” where he sings over French composer Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique”).