Live Review: Perfume Genius
Bush Hall, London - 16/05/11
Mike Hadreas, the Seattle based artist who performs as Perfume Genius, is a slight but captivating presence on stage.
While his delicate and often perilously fragile performance would have trouble fighting against a beery rock crowd, the rapt Bush Hall audience hung on his every note and utterance.
Playing piano and occasional acoustic guitar, and backed by an accomplice on keys and vocals, Hadreas performed a compact set taken largely from debut album Learning.
While his voice live, as on record, had hints of trembling nervousness about it, this acted as a strength, drawing the listener in and conferring Hadreas' lyrics with what feels like a heartfelt realism.
Despite being played by just two people, and often featuring fairly similar structures, Hadreas' songs live seem more fully realised than on record, each one fully self contained yet part of a larger whole.
Standouts from the night include the haunting Mr Petersen and Look Out, Look Out, as well as an unnamed new song which featured in the encore.
Hadreas' second album is by all accounts well underway, and judging by the strength of this live performance and the devotion shown by the audience could be a potential big step up.
But while you wish him every success, as an audience member you can't help but hope he doesn't get too huge too soon - with something this precious you just don't want to share.