For a crystal clear gaze in to the soul of someone who has been to his personal hell and back and back again, take in a whiff of Perfume Genius. The one-person band is composed of Mike Hadreas, a 30-year-old from Seattle who looks like a fragile, wide-eyed young boy and sings like a warbling nightingale. His music has caused a lot of attention within the past few years due to its dark subject matters and honest disclosures of substance abuse. Perfume Genius plays at Swedish American Hall this Wed Oct. 24.
Besides the little bits of synth here and there, Hadreas’ music is piano-based, thoroughly uncluttered and evolves like poetry. The topics he tackles lyrically, however, are anything but delicate. His debut album Learning — which was created in 2010 when moving in with his mom after a long, consuming romance with drugs and booze — addressed molestation, suicide, and the struggles of being accepted as a young gay man, to name but a few. Between then and now, Hadreas has gotten sober, relapsed and picked himself up once more (oh, and fell in love!) to write Put Your Back N 2 It, which came out in February of this year.
Hadreas’ music videos, like his music, have a tendency to be simplistic yet potent, earnest and unsettling. “Take Me Home,” a song set in the perspective of a love-seeking prostitute, features Hadreas in drag. The video premiered earlier this month:
“Hood,” also a track on the new album, sings of the insecurities and desperation that arises when finally letting somebody in for the first time ever. The video features Hadreas in the arms of porn star Arpad Miklos. YouTube banned the shorter promo clip for not being “family safe,” but the full length music video is available now:
What: Perfume Genius
When: Wed. Oct. 24, 7:30pm, $15
Where: Swedish American Hall
2174 Market, San Francisco
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