Monday, 14 May 2012

perfume genius @ captains rest, 8th may

Cate Le Bon has a clarification to make: contrary to received Twitter wisdom, she is neither German, nor a Viking. We don’t know the context to these misattributions, but we’d guess the former stems from her bewitching vocal style; while Welsh vowels make her real home unmistakable, there’s something in her pitch reminiscent of Nico, albeit with the Warhol icon’s austerity replaced by genteel warmth and a fine-line in lightly-weird alt-folk. Nae idea about the Viking reference, though…

Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius is a somewhat more reserved stage presence. Flanked by two additional musicians tonight, he has little to say between songs (“I mean, I’m happy to be here, I just don’t have any anecdotes” he endearingly explains after one abandoned attempt at audience interaction), but everything to say within them. Listening to such nakedly exposed song-writing feels almost voyeuristic, with the performance’s air of intimacy emphasised by pin-drop stillness from the crowd.

The only exceptions to the silence come when members of the congregation pipe up and quietly join in – an innocuous act that takes on vulgar shades when the sing-alongs involve such hauntingly personal confessionals as Dark Parts’ abuse-narrative. Of course, to label such quiet murmurings ‘vulgar’ is ludicrously over-sensitive, but heightened emotions are precisely Perfume Genius’s forte; that we spot more than one fan dabbing away tears comes as no surprise.

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