The Globe, Cardiff
Fri 31 Aug
words GARETH MOULE photos SIMON AYRE
The little piece of summer that graced South Wales over the last few months is slowly coming to an end, and it seems appropriate that the drop in temperature and longer nights coincides with a Perfume Genius show in the capital. Mike Hadreas, the Seattleite known as Perfume Genius, should be familiar with the cool climate and frequent rain, which could go a long way to explaining the bleak and emotionally draining songs as therapy that he produces. It’s Friday night and any thoughts of hedonism and forgetting the stresses of the working week are banished from my mind.
Serafina Steer takes the stage, playing harp and singing as part of a duo utilising synths, drum machine and laptop. The modest crowd politely listens to the set, clapping in all the right places, but it’s pretty clear that they’re all here for Perfume Genius.
I take the opportunity to go to the bar and get a beer during the changeover, because it’s pretty apparent that rattling coins and shifting glass bottles aren’t going to be appreciated once PG takes the stage. He cuts a fragile figure sat behind a keyboard in black boots, leggings and a very baggy t-shirt. Flanked by a synth player to his left and a drummer to his right, silence descends over the crowd. He opens with AWOL Marine from this year’s acclaimed Put Your Back N 2 It and sets the scene for an appreciative crowd silently taking in the harrowing and downbeat tales of heartbreak and tormented emotion. The quiet atmosphere is disturbed by bar staff clinking bottles, who either don’t realise or care how irritating they are, but PG is jovial and chatty to the crowd between songs.
In what seems like a very short time, they leave the stage before coming back for an encore of Mr Peterson. If there’s anywhere else in the world tonight where people are paying to spend their Friday night listening to a song so fraught with conflicting emotions, let me know. People in the crowd leave beaming, unusually pleased to have had such a depressing evening.