The king of bedroom pop, Gus Dapperton, took The Basement East by storm on Saturday, Nov. 2nd. Dapperton is on his first world tour in support of his debut full-length album, Where Polly People Go to Read.
The show kicked off with the opener, Spencer. Spencer is the solo project of teenager Spencer Allen. He opened the show with melodic, funky beats that blended the funk of George Clinton and the modern lo-fi sound of Clairo. Despite Spencer being young, he has a commanding stage presence that surpasses his years, and even has 300,000 Spotify monthly listeners. He opened with hits like “Automatic”, and “Open Wide,” while still teasing the audience with some unreleased acoustic music.
After Spencer, the energy was palpable; this was Dapperton’s first time in Nashville. Dapperton stepped on the scene in 2016, with the song, “Moodna, Once With Grace”. This song, which is named after his sister, became an instant hit. Since, he has released two EPs, “Yellow and Such”, and “You Think You’re Comic”! Despite not having a full-length album until 2019, Gus Dapperton has managed to acquire over 1,000,000 Spotify listeners while also being featured on the soundtrack for the popular Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why.
He has a signature sound that is famously associated with his use of 80s synth and keys along with his upbeat, poppy lyrics. What makes his music really stand out amongst the hoard of bedroom pop artists is his unique voice. Dapperton’s voice is soft and sweet, but then he hits these unbelievably difficult high notes that he almost screams, which transports his bubbly pop voice to a deep raspy tone. There are very few artists on the indie scene with this type of range or distinctiveness.
Dapperton has become a household name in the indie scene after his standout hit, “I’m Just Snacking”. This hypnotic music video has amassed over 3,000,000 views on YouTube. After this 2017 hit, he started being placed on indie playlists all across the board.
After what seemed like hours waiting for Dapperton, the lights finally went down, and he ran onstage with insane energy. He was wearing all black while still rocking his vibrant ever-changing hair color- on Saturday, it was neon orange. Then he kicked off with his first song, “Verdigris”, from Where Polly People Go To Read. He then introduced his band, which included his sister, Moodna, on keys.
His set ranged from household hits like “Gum”, “Toe”, and “Sole,” along with fresh cuts off of the new album. Despite the crowd might not having known many of the new songs off of his debut album, the love for Gus was remarkable. I overheard fans who drove upwards of ten hours to see Dapperton. The most notable thing from the show was the shared energy between Gus and the crowd. As the show went on, there seemed to be a visible shift in audience participation. Gus and the crowd seemed to almost become like family during his set. He moved from jumping into the crowd to rolling around the floor, to holding hands with fans during the show. The best songs from his set that were slightly less known were “Ditch”, “Of Lacking Spectacle”, “Sockboy”, and “Eyes for Ellis”. Though his new music is absolutely fantastic, the most ecstatic energy erupted when the first few chords of his stand out hits “Prune, You Talk Funny”, and “I’m Just Snacking” played.
Even people standing by the bar began to run into the mosh pit when they heard his iconic synth. He put on a show like none other from his robotic-like dancing, to his signature “scream” notes in songs like “Miss Glum” and the “Pursuit of Falling”. He finally closed with his encore, which included his stand out hit, “World-Class Cinema”, and a “Twist and Shout” cover.
This show was a non-stop neon party of fun and a little 90s nostalgia. Dapperton does a great job of taking what is popular in modern indie music and mixing it with sounds that are reminiscent of the late 80s and early 90s. Be sure to check out Gus in a city near you on his world tour for Where Polly People Go to Read. You won’t want to miss it.
Photos By Madison Sharp