Sunday 22 July 2018

Perfume Genius, Tivoli, Dublin review: 'Hadreas veered, with a wink and a pout, from pummelling electro-pop to soul-baring dirges'

4 stars

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Perfume Genius performs onstage during day 2 of FYF Fest 2017 at Exposition Park on July 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for FYF)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Perfume Genius performs onstage during day 2 of FYF Fest 2017 at Exposition Park on July 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for FYF)
Ed Power

Ed Power

As a gay man who was bullied relentlessly as a teenager and later struggled with substance abuse (to say nothing of an addiction to Diet Coke) Perfume Genius’s Mike Hadreas has come by his battle scars the hard way.

He certainly brought a multitude of perspectives to just his second stand-alone Irish performance, veering, with a wink and a pout, from pummelling electro-pop to soul-baring dirges.

In his mid 30s now, Hadreas had a dissolute youth and then some. The Washington State native had chased the bright lights in New York only to tumble into a destructive spiral of all night partying. In recovery he met the love of his life (boyfriend Alan Wyffels, here playing keyboard) – a twist that imbues his music with an irresistible blend of angst, melodrama and triumph.

Wearing vest and glittering gold trousers, Hadreas romped through his repertoire, with a particular focus on this year’s No Shape LP. A grin spread across his face during Slip Away while he plunged into a cold dark chasm on Mr Peterson – a troubling dirge about a teacher with an unhealthy obsession with a student.

This was by way of setting up a glorious encore that included a cover of Big Star's Kangaroo – candidate for most depressing song of all time – before blistering into fireworks with imperious self-empowerment hymn Queen.

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