Perfume Genius – Brooklyn Steel – May 16, 2017
There’s a lot to be said for an artist rising to the occasion, for recognizing the swell of critical acclaim for the work one has created and the inescapable buzz of anticipation for performing it while being able to get a handle on all of the nerves and emotions flowing in and around a big moment to deliver with poise and pace, and, ultimately, heart-stopping impact. Perfume Genius’s pop music is so stirring because it strikes a balance between extravagance and intimacy, bombast and fragility, not to mention Mike Hadreas dancing unpredictably within the space of that spectrum. Riding the energy of his just released fourth solo album, No Shape, Hadreas greeted his largest U.S. audience to date last night at the recently unveiled and sold-out room of Brooklyn Steel.
Amidst his backing band keeping a steady pulse of from the shadows, Hadreas floated about a stage transformed into his own lair of sonic fantasy, unleashing a voice of divine range to touch thrilling peaks on seismic pop starbursts like the rousing “Queen” and “Slip Away.” Then, with uncanny sense of timing, ballads including No Shape finale “Alan” and “Too Bright” found him landing softly and sweetly into spot-lit pockets where lyrics of emotion commingled with his virtuosic piano play. With his seductive and disarming presence, Perfume Genius’s music left all in the audience intoxicated and helpless to surrender. It was a performance of bold substance, delivered with flair and elegance by an artist keenly aware that his time has arrived. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly