Last week’s Hopscotch 2022 had some big names in indie music, and their performances were electric. Perfume Genius gave us his heart, Kim Gordon shredded my ear drums, Dawn Richard got me groovin’ in new ways and Black Country, New Road had epic sounds exuding from every one of their members.
Instead of elaborating on any music festival set up or random whatnot, I will jump right into the artist and bands’ performances:
With lots of personal bias, I have to say Perfume Genius’ set was my favorite one I saw at Hopscotch this year. Mike Hadreas slowly and softly destroyed the stage with his magnetic vocals and stage presence.
Opening with “Your Body Changes Everything”, he immediately captivated the audience not only with smooth, hard hitting beats, but also with his suave, baby-blue, tailored suit and white button down. He constantly switched between old tracks and some of his new, popular releases.
Hadreas’ rendition of “Jason” and “Normal Song” were melancholic and angelic as his voice drifted down and graced us all. For “Normal Song”, he shooed everyone off stage except Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) who played a saintly guitar and accompanied Hadreas’ with their own backup vocals.
To finish off the night, Mike Hadreas brought out a light, silky white sheet and played a few of his newer tracks from “Ugly Season”. His sheet was a mask and tool of pure beauty as it covered his face and floated in the air, almost reverberating from the sheer power of the performance.
I have never seen an artist efficiently play some of their best music on stage in my life. There weren’t any hiccups or pauses throughout the show, and Hadreas wore a brilliant blazing smile the entire time. If I could continuously relive that entire performance, I would.
Black Country, New Road:
I was scared of the Black Country, New Road set. I didn’t know how good the band was going to feel on stage after their initial lead singer left, but my fears were almost immediately dispelled.
Every single member of this band brought some sort of key talent that helped make the whole band shine like stars. May Kershaw (keys and vocals), Tyler Hyde (bass and vocals), and Charlie Wayne (drums) were outstanding. These members specifically stole the show for me.
Kershaw’s keys and vocal mixture brought an antsy and dramatic flow to the band’s sound that was beautiful and unique. Wayne’s drums were attacked relentlessly, which brought forth an epic beat. And, Hyde’s bass was the background glue that held everyone together perfectly.
One of my favorite moments during their performance was when Kershaw had a long solo performance, which is still too elegant for me to put into words appropriately. Her soft piano opening led into focused, serene vocals and a chaotic, triumphant closing act with the entire band joining in.
As you might be able to tell from the above photo, Dawn Richard’s stage presence was unmatched. With her incredible backup vocalists and dancers, she mesmerized the crowd by merely stepping on stage.
Richard performed a few of her hit songs like “Bussifame” and “Nostalgia”, but her true power came in getting the crowd (including me) to start grooving and warming up to the music. Preceding her set, I noticed a majority of concert goers had locked hips and knees for most sets. Many people only bobbed their heads a teensy bit.
Then, Dawn Richard took the stage and began to set the night on fire with some delicious vocals, bars and beats. The neon suits and flashing lights were like eye candy, and her funk-inspired, bass-bumping tunes eventually got the crowd all sorts groovin’.
I’d like to think her set was the heat that made Perfume Genius’ set really explode into a wealth of success, so thank you Dawn Richard for that.
Kim Gordon’s performance physically rocked my head and made my eardrums ring for hours after she had finished. Unfortunately, going into her performance I had not sampled enough of her work, and I really wish I had done so.
Gordon’s raspy, sometimes scratchy vocals were intoxicating. Her jumpy and stalky motions used on stage sometimes made for a wonderfully terrifying sight. Honestly, the horrifying sounds and glitchy art she brought to Hopscotch was a sight to behold.
A lot of those words might make the performance seem unsavory, but I had a blast watching her make her art. Her musical beauty comes from the discord she delivers us.
If you ever have the opportunity to see any of these wonderful people live, I highly recommend doing so. All of their performances had a wonderful uniqueness that made each artist more loved and cherished.
Of course, I wish I could have gone back in time and appropriately learned all the words for all of these artists’ songs (besides Perfume Genius because I got them on lock already), but I can’t. It doesn’t mean I was unable to enjoy their sets. I thought all of them were perfect for who the artist or band is.