The only reason I ended up at the Fine Line on Wednesday was because of the pictures I was seeing from Perfume Genius’ tour. Okay, that and a night spent at a show is better than a night spent at home but, I think you get where I’m going with this! Although I had heard their name before, I knew nothing about Perfume Genius other than the pictures I was seeing led me to believe it was a show I couldn’t miss so after some dinner and chill time, I made my way through the snow (yes, it was snowing at the end of March because Minnesota) and found myself surrounded in the familiar Fine Line waiting to see what this band was all about.
Hand Habits was not what I was expecting for an opener on this show but I honestly couldn’t tell you why. Although I knew nothing about Perfume Genius, I think I was anticipating an upbeat indie-rock act to open but instead, I got Hand Habits. I’ll be honest, it took me a second to warm up to their music but, once I did, I was able to truly appreciate the magic and beauty behind their music. With just Meg Duffy, a guitar, microphone, and pedalboard, I was enamored by the array of sounds and moods that they were able to capture with such little equipment. Although overall the set was subdued and quiet (almost uncomfortably quiet at the beginning), there was a sense of emotion and passion that made the quick opening set feel much louder than it actually was. The quietness of the set was juxtaposed by Meg’s personality which was given a few chances to shine as they addressed the crowd. Admitting that the snow falling outside was exciting (although the crowd was quick to have them change that to “I’m sorry that it’s snowing outside”), to asking if we really have a “sky world” here (referencing the skyway system), I loved how their personality seemed to be completely different than the personality that came through in the music. Even though I was a bit more in the mood for something upbeat and dancey on Wednesday night, Hand Habits had me sold by the end of their set.
Kicking off his set with “Your Body Changes Everything”, it was impossible to not get lost in the movements on stage. Although I enjoyed watching all of the highly talented musicians on stage, it was Michael that stole my attention throughout the twenty-song set. Much as I had anticipated (although I underestimated the power of it), Michael’s movements on stage were very organic. Quirky, but organic. I often talk about seeing a musician feel the music as they are performing and this may have been the best example of that. Although there were moments where the movements looked a bit awkward or uncomfortable, they made sense and truly brought a little something-something to the already larger-than-life stage presence that Michael and his band have.
The set, which started off just a bit slow and somber, gained traction throughout the night ending in what can only be classified of a burst of energy from both the audience and stage but, even during those slower first few songs, I was captivated by the way the audience was receiving the band. Although there was an undeniable sense of excitement and energy throughout the audience as fans sang and swayed their way through song after song, there was this almost idolization that could be felt radiating from the crowd to the stage. There’s a good reason for that. As mentioned, Perfume Genius has been genuine since day one and I feel like that’s an easy thing to latch onto in not only a musician but just a human in general. Although he came off as a bit larger-than-life while performing, there were moments throughout the set where you got the feeling that Michael is just one of those people that you would love to just sit down and grab a drink with. Genuine, warm-hearted, honest, fun– to say I was a bit in love with Michael by the end of the set would not be a stretch.
I found myself at the Perfume Genius show on Wednesday night because of images and my goal was to see what feeling would come over me when seeing those images play in front of me. Mission accomplished but now I’m already craving another performance from this amazing human.