A musician’s bravado and talent are not always in sync, but when it came to Perfume Genius’ sold-out set at the 9:30 Club on March 25, the worlds of confidence and vocal range fall forth and take on a sensual partnership.
Perfume Genius On the Rise
For those not familiar with the vibrant stage personality that is Perfume Genius, consider the ramification of Michaelangelo’s David coming to life and becoming Gen Z’s answer to David Bowie.
With an undeniably growing fanbase and high regard as pophead internet’s “favorite male,” Michael Hadreas (the mind behind Perfume Genius’ genius) has found himself at the forefront of pop music excellence and has no intention to step back.
Whether it’s his uncompromising presence as a gay artist or the fact he’s every other pop star’s playlist fave, P.G. is the big swinger to look out for. It came as no surprise he would sell out 9:30.
The Fan Presence
When I arrived at the front doors of 9:30 on that Friday night, I couldn’t even fathom the sheer magnitude of the attendance line wrapping around three street corners.
Everyone for blocks and blocks was there to not only see the show but revel in one of the largest queer gatherings to hit D.C. recently.
From older gay men to young people proudly displaying their genderqueer identity, this show was an absolute summit of the entire LGBTQ+ community.
Hand Habits + Their Poetic Persona
Opening for Perfume Genius at this packed show was none other than the indie heavyweight Hand Habits.
From my time as a music promotion intern and budding indie buff, Hand Habits was the name to use when you wanted to impress others with your music catalog.
Spending their set alone with nothing but a guitar and a chair to sit in, Hand Habits made the effort to instill a deep intimacy within 9:30’s crowd.
With a bright light drizzling down on Hand Habits as they played their songs, I noticed the entire crowd was mesmerized. Not a single person was looking away and not a single voice aside Hand Habits’ was making a sound.
Everyone was captivated by this display whether they were at the front of the crowd or hanging high in the balconies.
It was breathtaking.
Live and Let Love Sensualism
When it came to our headliner, Perfume Genius was able to maintain that monumental intimacy in such an insanely mobile capacity.
From the moment he and his amazing band took the stage, P.G. used everything in his being to strut, spin and pose heroically on that stage.
There was never a moment where Hadreas seemed to be static.
When he sat down, he rocked back and forth with eager anxiety. When he played a ballad with his keyboardist/partner Alan Wyffels, he pressed each key with a tenderness matched only by the way he looked at Wyffels.
It was so refreshing to see an artist love the way their body moves.
Nothing was fake. It was real and passionate and verged into the intimately personal.
Phil Collins Could Never
And in terms of the P.G.’s music, it’s safe to say he’s taken the best approach with his latest LP “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.”
An art-rock triumph that pays homage to the varied genres of the ’80s, “Set My Heart” sounds like Phil Collins if he really put his all into “Sussudio.”
And I mean that with no hesitation whatsoever.
Perfume Genius sounded like Collins but played his songs like he had the confidence of Robert Palmer and Collins’ former bandmate Peter Gabriel.
Beating his chest in a rhythmic and bold manner, Hadreas had no reason to be timid or coy.
Instead, he had every reason to be straightforward and bold and channel the talented bravado I spoke of with high regards.
Perfume Genius wasn’t just a genius. He was an absolute experience at the spectacular 9:30 Club.
Check out “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately” on all music-streaming platforms. And don’t miss out on any announcements regarding the upcoming release of Perfume Genius’ next LP “Ugly Season.”