Gus Dapperton


Hailing from the US, Gus Dapperton – the latest indie dreamboat to land on our British shores – lays the turnup jean loving crowd to waste in the nicest possible way imaginable. Blending 80s inspired indie with garnishes of dream pop and kitsch singer-songwriting, the 20-year-old certainly impresses with songs such as ‘Moodna, Once More with Grace’ and ‘Ditch’ as his dungaree donning band supply excellent instrumentation, which sounds exactly how it does on his limited yet richly produced studio recordings.

The bowl cut is certainly a look! It’s not my cup of tea, however he owns the style with his unique on-stage charisma accentuating his eccentric and flamboyant personality. It’s a weird experience because Gus has relatively only just come onto the radar of many music fans in the past 6 months or so, yet he’s being received like some sort of God. And it’s not in the Kirin J. Callinan way full of ironic motifs and acute self-awareness, but in an iconic fashion, almost as if it’s the second coming of Morrissey himself. For example, before producing a single lyric or musical note, his band enters the Gorilla picture and simmers gently in the background whilst Gus makes his grand entrance. Flailing his limbs about in a general “waving the bouquet” fashion akin to the music legend mentioned merely moments ago, it’s an invigorating sight to behold the joy and splendour on the faces and lips of tonight’s contingent.

Playing almost every Gus Dapperton song I can think of – which admittedly isn’t a mind-bending amount – the energy and youthful swagger found in songs such as ‘Gum, Toe and Sole’ brings a warm feeling inside. His songs are so elegantly composed and devised that it’s hard not to smile and dance to any of his fantastic tracks. My favourite song of his, and subsequently favourite rendition of the night, comes in the form of ‘Prune, You Talk Funny’, which is a lovely little pop tune doused in flowery lyricism and teen farm-boy charm. You wouldn’t have known he was from a farm town just by looking at him, and this is another great lesson in never judging a book by its cover.

Currently based in Philadelphia, hopefully he can use the unique idiosyncrasies and wander in the office blocks, coffee shops, cracked pavements and bustling streets of any major city; without losing the honest, warm-hearted charm of a small-town boy, looking to hollow out a space in the popular music landscape.

With every song played including another favourite of mine called ‘Fool’ (to be honest I could argue for every Dapperton ditty to be my favourite), it’s time for the encore, which is of course a Smiths cover. Donning the bass guitar for this homage and declaring “We’ve been waiting a long time to play this one”, Gus and his band do a great job of sending the crowd home happy with an almost note perfect version of ‘This Charming Man’. With most inside holding arms aloft with cans of Red Stripe in hand, creating a Jamaican lager sea just above people’s heads, it felt like a memorable moment and the smiles on the faces of Gus and his band really say it all; they fucking smashed it.

Like this review, the set is short yet colourful and indicates vast pools of potential for Dapperton and his floaty, feelgood tunes to fill. I would highly recommend catching Mr. Dapperton and his band before he heads back to North America near the final days of February. Alas, he’ll be back in the UK in May to play Glasgow’s Stereo, the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds and London’s The Garage. Sadly, no future Manchester dates have been set yet, however if tonight’s reception is anything to go by, this Northern powerhouse could one day become a second home for this highly talented artist.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC