WSOE’s Music Director Tom got the chance to see Perfume Genius at Cat’s Cradle on May 19th! Check out his review below.
Perfume Genius has been on my list of must-see concerts for years and I finally got the chance to witness him grace the stage at the Cat’s Cradle. Fresh off of the release of his fourth album, “No Shape,” Michael Hadreas brought with him an arsenal of new songs and it felt like he had been performing them for years.
The band emerged on stage with the rapid and claustrophobic strings of “Choir” playing over the speakers and then immediately went into the No Shape opener “Otherside.” The quiet piano lead captured everyone’s attention and the explosion of sound after Hadreas crooned “Rocking you to sleep/From the other side” knocked the collective wind out of the room. That eruption of keys, drums, bass with Hadreas’ soaring vocals on top set the tone for the evening and nothing diminished it.
I have never been a part of a more engrossed crowd than this one. If someone walked into the concert and heard the applause break after any song they would have assumed it was the last song of the encore. The applause was not limited to after songs were finished either. The crowd went wild after Hadreas hit the high note on “Fool,” when the drums started on “Dark Parts” and the whole time Hadreas prowled the stage during the goth rocker “Grid.”
Watching Perfume Genius grow as a band is like watching a flower bloom and every stage of that growth was displayed on stage. The shy and timid nature of “Learning” was beautifully emoted when the title track and “Mr. Peterson” were played in the encore. “Put Your Back N 2 It”’s bolstered strength and evocative imagery in piano ballads like “Hood” and the guitar-led “Normal Song” nearly brought the crowd to tears. The blossoming nature of “Too Bright” was exhibited when the daringly colorful “Queen” brought the house down as the closer.
Finally, we have “No Shape.” A fully bloomed flower with the whimsical “Just Like Love,” the unashamed “Wreath” and the overpowering “Slip Away” which ended the main set. These songs elegantly encapsulated everything that Perfume Genius’ music has been and has meant. The evolution of Hadreas’ songwriting along with the growing confidence of his live shows make “No Shape” and the subsequent tour feel like what Perfume Genius has been working towards their entire career. Nothing makes me happier than getting the chance to see this music live and watch one of my favorite artists in their truest, most well-realized form.