Perfume Genius (photo: Estefany Gonzalez)
“I woke up mad today,” Mike Hadreas, the artist also known as Perfume Genius, told the audience during his sold-out performance on Tuesday night at the Independent. Dressed in slacks, a thin white tank-top, half chaps, and black dress shoes, Hadreas danced with a billowing flow and did not actually seem to be upset about anything except the function of his right in-ear monitor, which he took to removing halfway through every song in frustration.
Opening song “Otherside” began with a soft piano riff before bursting into a noise blast lit by bright yellow stage lights. The golden halo cast around Hadreas was fitting, as his slim demeanor, pale skin, and delicate voice makes it easy to see him as a 21-century angelic figure. Backed by an extremely skilled three-piece band, Hadreas waltzed through the best songs from his four LPs with extra focus on his 2017 LP No Shape, a shifty and soft album that argues for texture and patience, saving its heaviest moments for just a few moments. Those tracks, including “Wreath” and “Slip Away,” were highlights of the night.
Late in the set, Hadreas turned to his onstage piano and performed beautiful versions of the suicidal teacher ode “Mr. Peterson” and the self-destructive love of “Hood.” Tuesday night’s show represented a significant step-forward for Perfume Genius: the more complicated arrangements of No Shape, the more expensive light show, and the confidence of Hadreas came together for a pitch-perfect performance. Rather than being upset, Hadreas seems to have embraced the loveliest madness.