Orlando debut of Perfume Genius extends the color and beauty of pride weekend

by

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Perfume Genius and Dearest, The Social, Oct. 16
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
Though not part of the official festivities, there is no more perfect show to follow gay pride weekend than Matador Records mainstay Perfume Genius. If there’s a finer way to extend the style, artistry and beauty of the city’s most out weekend of the year than to bask in the sun of band visionary Mike Hadreas live, I cannot conceive it.
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
With stage craft that more befits a play than a concert, this was the Orlando debut of one of today’s most dazzling performers. A frontman of staggering magnetism who exudes balletic modernism, Hadreas owns the spotlight with slinky, liquid moves that blend grace and grind.
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
It’s no accident that his backup band were clustered all the way out on the wings of the stage, giving him maximum room to weave his spell. He’s a queer icon, but one whose power of expression is of a magnitude that passes objective and universal muster with blazing colors.
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
Musically, Perfume Genius’ auroral art-pop embraces soul, rock and even grand church music. While getting into genre associations is useful to discuss most artists, it’s too reductive to grasp Hadreas’ vision, which invokes so many styles to craft music that just transcends all of their traditions for a rarefied plane all its own.
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
From one moment to the next, things can go from tinkling piano balladry to choral bursts that blow off the cathedral roof on the way to heaven.
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
The band’s opening, which is also how the latest album opens (“Otherside”), was one such example of a knock-down sequence that at once encompasses magnificence, theater and titanic dynamics.
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
Perfume Genius at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Perfume Genius at the Social
The dense sonic architecture of Perfume Genius’ latest work mirrors the scope and weight of the emotions behind the expression. The music is predicated on harnessing the power of pain and reclaiming it by forging it into a brilliant phoenix. In current album No Shape, they’ve turned the scars to stars and pierced a new horizon altogether. And live – musically, visually, emotionally – it was breathtaking. Before a rightfully appreciative and roaring crowd, this was one of the most beautiful and deeply felt performances seen in a long time. Majestic and sublime, Perfume Genius is the stuff of cult legend.
Dearest at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dearest at the Social
Opener Dearest was a surprise local find. A name that hopefully won’t remain unknown for long, the solo indie-rock act of Tracy Farah builds out songs live with an assured touch through loops, one layer at a time and in quick order.
Dearest at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dearest at the Social
Dearest at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dearest at the Social
Although only a guitar was played, it was worked in all manner of ways – picking, strumming, striking – to create a palette of texture. The result was a halcyon sound tapestry whose focus can go from tracing the fibers of a bedsheet to gusting up a mountain face with post-rock atmospherics. Dearest is one of the most notable loop acts to emerge here in a while, one certainly worth more ears.

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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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