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It’s almost there. Each album is slightly better than the last. Each tour features some improvement. Whatever comes after No Shape may be the album that pushes Perfume Genius into theaters.

Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, is at the start of his fourth album tour cycle. Last night’s show at 9:30 Club was slightly better than his Too Bright tour. The new songs are quieter and more intimate. It’s a small step forward for an artist already headed in the right direction.

After playing smaller rooms like The Hamilton and Black Cat, the larger 9:30 Club shouldn’t have fit the sound. But it did. Maybe it was the early start time. The 7:30 set time is great for the 34-year-old me but ideally this show would be at 1 a.m. on a snowy night. Apologies to opener serpentwithfeet, like a lot of people in the crowd I was leaving work while you were taking the stage.

Maybe it was sound quality. The 9:30 Club has an excellent reputation for sound and outdoor festivals have horrible reputations but I don’t think the club has sounded better than last night. Each and every note was clear, definitely sounding better than 2010’s Learning and quite possibly 2012’s Put Your Back N 2 It.

Maybe it was the crowd. Though it was the least attended 9:30 Club show I’ve witnessed, the crowd wanted to be there. It was evident by their respect and joy. They danced when they were supposed to dance and were silent between songs. Monday night plus early start time with perfect weather makes the inside of a club not so appealing. The draw makes sense and should not reflect on the quality of performer. If this was Saturday night it would’ve sold-out in advance. As a fan, I’m glad it’s not sold-out. This is a hungry artist that deserves sold-out crowds. In addition to the music and live shows, I’m basing this on his late night appearances. 2014’s “Queen” on The Late Show with David Letterman was the second best musical performance on late night that year (the honor goes to Future Island’s appearance on Letterman). This month’s rendition of “Slip Away” on The Late Show with Stephan Colbert was slightly better than “Queen.”


Too Bright is a very good album and Perfume Genius is a very good live band. But the greatness isn’t there. It’s a matter of time. There hasn’t been a step back in the first four records and each D.C. appearance is better than the last.

I can’t wait until this band is in opera houses. This tour cycle features some props and a four piece band. Wait until money isn’t a big deal. Wait until they can afford a harpist and a harpsichordist and LED screens. We’ve reached the corset/jumpsuit period. Last album cycle was about oversized early 90s shirts. Next is couture.