Mike Hadreas told us recently that he had one stage move he'd been working on for this tour, and we got a look at it Friday night at the Andy Warhol Museum.
It's a good one: a low, snaky, predatory crouch dance, made all the more effective by the fishnets and sheer vulnerability.
It's a brave new world for the Seattle singer-singwriter, who spent the first two albums, for the most part, safely behind the piano. Last year's acclaimed breakout "Too Bright" has opened him up to a world of dark, heavy beats and the pelvic thrust of a full band.
Now his fans get the best of both worlds and there was a here-we-are-now-entertain-us cabaret vibe to the seated Warhol show that offered both ends of his talents: the haunting, confessional piano ballads ("Hood," "Lookout, Lookout") sung in his fragile boyish voice and the harder electro-pop.
The "Too Bright" songs certainly energized the evening, adding the likes of "Grid," with its rubbery beat and guttural screams; the seductive "Fool," which rides a Temps groove into an operatic finish; and, of course, "Queen," an unapologetic gay anthem of Bowie/Gabriel majesty that has him singing, "No family is safe when I sashay."
Here and there, he broke the tension: "Sorry for my zit," he said, as if anyone could see it. "I put a bottle of concealer on it," he said, and then laughed at the extent of his stage banter being about "my acne."
That was fine, because the substance and beauty was in the music and the push and pull between primal and cerebral.