Though quite different in presentation, the touring mates complimented each other nicely. Where dramatic flourishes, sinister undertones, and variations in Parenthetical Girls’ discography made for an exciting and often unpredictable show; Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius only needed to lift his fingers across the keys to render the crowd completely silent.
Listening to Hadreas’ delicate vocals, I hardly dared to breathe for fear that the noise would somehow interrupt the scene. Even the venue itself seemed to participate in the reverent silence (unlike Glasslands the next night where noise could be heard coming through the wall from the show at 285 Kent next door). The Mercury Lounge A/C, which had been blasting all night, was noticeably absent for the entirety of Perfume Genius’ set.
Hadreas’ lyrics cover deeply personal terrain (addiction, body image, regret, desperation, homosexuality, and death are just a few of the topics), but somehow the nakedness of his vocals makes the sentiments and emotions he evokes feel universal. And though his songs are often filled with trauma, his music has an oddly triumphant and redemptive quality that more than borders on something spiritual.
For many musicians, writing and performing music is a cathartic experience, but with Hadreas it’s something more. He’s not just redeeming himself when he sings. Over the course of his short, 45-minute set, he took on all the pain and suffering in the room, effectively redeeming the entire crowd.