Perfume Genius AKA Seattle-based singer/songwriter Mike Hadreas performed a tight set of songs on October 7 to a small crowd at the Drake Underground in Toronto.
Recently signed to Matador Records and given the indie blessing of Pitchfork, Hadreas is a talented young thing on the rise whose dark, delicate melodies and nuanced delivery have carved a distinct niche for him in the crowded field of indie folk pop.
From the moment Hadreas first opened his mouth to sing, his face contorted in something like pain, but also total concentration, as he laboriously wrung each note from somewhere inside himself. He was working hard up there.
What the show lacked in fun, it made up for with feeling. Accompanied by his boyfriend Alan Wyffels on soft violin synthesizer and in a sweet piano duet for “Learning” (download the track here), Hadreas sang with a trembling falsetto that is the closest thing to the great Neil Young’s vocals I have heard from any artist.
In the hands of a less capable and expressive vocalist, Hadreas’s songs could sound elementary to a first-time listener who didn’t catch all the dark and well-written lyrics, but Hadreas infused each note with poignancy and fragility while never breaking his beautiful melodic lines.
Those melodies, by the way, are super catchy and don’t sound like anything else. On his album, Hadreas has created an original, atmospheric sound that is supremely listenable, and he’s able to not only recreate it live, but infuse it with an energy that leaves a lasting impression on his audience.
Thank goodness we were all still under his spell when Hadreas finished his set so we barely noticed the extreme awkwardness as he muttered “thanks” (the only word I remember him speaking the entire set) and ran off the stage. Whatever, even that was cute.
See more photos of the show as well as Perfume Genius’s European tour dates after the jump.
PERFUME GENIUS EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
Oct 18 – Manchester, UK @ St. Philips Church
Oct 19 – London, UK @ Cecil Sharp House
Oct 21 – Bristol, UK @ The Cube
Oct 22 – Brighton, UK @ The Hope
Oct 23 – Cardiff, UK @ SWN Festival
Oct 25 – Brussels, Belgium @ Bontanique
Oct 26 – Paris, France @ Le Point Ephemere
Oct 27 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
Oct 28 – Hamburg, Germany @ Prinzenbar
Visit Perfume Genius on Myspace.
And stay tuned for our upcoming Q&A with Perfume Genius this week!