Gus Dapperton at Heaven: A radiant, hypnotic dance party from an exciting up-and-comer
Does total originality exist anymore? Perhaps not, but it’s always reassuring to come across young artists who don’t subscribe to simply offering whatever is on trend, but instead choose to do their own thing, making music they believe in and offering their take on the world in a way that’s authentic and true to themselves. One of the advantages of social media and the ability to release online music is that it has been able to launch certain singers and cast a spotlight over talents that might otherwise have remained in the shadows.
As with such acts as Lana Del Rey, Gus Dapperton is a character and this allows its creator Brendan Rice to express himself in heightened ways, dressing eccentrically whilst crooning to analogue synths and creating a conceptual, stylised sound. It works. From the funky bass lines of Verdigris to the keyboard synths of the perfectly performed Ditch, Dapperton’s music guarantees to turn the night into a party, his colourful clothing reflective of the high energy mood created. Lower to mid-tempo tracks such as Where Polly People Go to Read display the artist’s mellow, hypnotic vocals and slot in well, providing a breather between upbeat and catchy floor-fillers like Prune, You Talk Funny, but the show manages to sustain an alluring vigour throughout.
Heaven serves as an ideal venue to showcase the New Yorker’s talents with the acoustics allowing his band to shine. Friends from high school, their camaraderie and creative respect and understanding of one another radiates out, showcasing the great, infectious chemistry between them. The crowd are feeling it and although due to Dapperton’s modest catalogue the set is over in around an hour, not a second is wasted and we are left feeling energised but perhaps wanting more, which is always the sign of a good gig.
There is little interaction with the crowd, the music rightly doing most of the talking. Several repetitions of “f**k Boris Johnson” warrant roaring cheers but feel slightly odd and forced coming from this American singer who makes no further political comment. It also perhaps intrudes on the feelings of escapism established throughout the set; however, we are soon transported back into Dapperton’s dream-like world with the start of the next song.
World Class Cinema has the entire audience moving and serves as one of the highlights of the show. Gum, Toe and Sole also has everyone singing along before it has even properly started, sustaining happy and buoyant vibes that add to the joyful atmosphere. With its sing-along lyrics, My Favourite Fish is made for a live performance and the surprise encore cover of Twist and Shout sums up what can only be described as a radiant and utterly enjoyable experience. Dapperton firmly asserts that he is the real deal, means business and is one to watch out for.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Gus Dapperton’s website here.
Watch the video for My Favourite Fish here: