Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, has slowly come into his own and built an audience for his brand of provocative chamber pop and folk throughout the 2010’s. It’s weird to say he’s “broken through” multiple times, but with each successive record, a new, bursting Perfume Genius is born. This year’s No Shape continues this streak without question with tracks like “Slip Away” and “Valley,” and with its expansive instrumentation and propulsive flow, his confidence is firing on all cylinders, and it’s undoubtedly one of the year’s best records for it.


All photos by David Fisch

This tour round in support of this record is indeed the time to see him perform live. In full gold pants-suit, he dominated the stage of The Glass House in Pomona Tuesday night to an intimate crowd of passionate fans and newcomers alike. Though Pomona may not necessarily be the “it” site to see bands perform compared to the major Los Angeles area (he could only say “Pomona” while whispering it), the small, homey setting provided the perfect playground for Hadreas to let loose and connect to every individual in the audience.

He played an impressive seventy-five minute set, which would have likely been truncated had you been witness in a larger festival setting or as a supporting act. No, this was Perfume Genius at the top of the bill and ready give the crowd a laundry list of singles and fan favorites from his four albums, both intimate and explosive, and all fervently released under colorful lights.

When he wasn’t dancing on stage and cozying up to his synth player, he was at his piano or guitar performing softer tunes like “Normal Song” or “Hood.” When he WAS dancing, he was all in it. Hearing the searing guitar of “Grid” as he let out a yelp here and there with this unbelievable gyration was like watching a heart-pounding thriller, and likewise with “Go Ahead” and the groovy “Run Me Through,” his sultry moves felt lifted, owning every step, and contorting with such precision that members of the audiences couldn’t help but cheer.

By the end of encore and stupendous single “Queen,” this no longer became a show but an event. The Glass House’s acoustics were in right order, imbuing the sometimes cinematic sonics of his music with his very upfront vocals. It was even easier to see the “genius” in Perfume Genius in the live setting, though to replicate the intimacy of Tuesday night would be hard to match. He will be opening for The xx this Friday at The Forum, so even if you missed your chance to see him, see him at all, as his energy is sure to be equalled and his music the same excellency it provides on wax.

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