Perfume Genius

Interstellar Rodeo, Edmonton AB, July 27

Photo: Levi Manchak

BY Levi ManchakPublished Jul 28, 2019

There's a patient power to Perfume Genius's performances. Nothing is ever rushed in the music that Mike Hadreas makes, but nothing ever quite feels slow either. There's a tender tension in the subtext of his songs; their pace rolls out like holding your breath until the last possible moment before you pass out, then sucking in as much oxygen as possible for a momentary euphoria. Hadreas rode that tension expertly for his Interstellar Rodeo appearance, building and releasing it like a controlled valve.
A pensive persona when behind his piano during slower dirges like "Rusty Chains," Hadreas balanced it by lithely writhing around on stage through more driving tracks like "Slip Away."
There was a definite formula to the show. Catch an emotion, build upon it, then release it, letting it go out to the ether. The entire set built toward fan favourite "Queen," and when Perfume Genius finished playing, the audience exhaled ebulliently in collective satisfaction.

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