He’s quirky, he’s got a killer voice, and gets a crowd screaming (yes, literally). Gus Dapperton brought a whole lot of fun, colour, and dancing to Berlin last Tuesday.
With the first sight of his trademark bowl-cut and glasses, the first few rows of the Kantine erupted as though a worldwide superstar had appeared. Instead, a man not yet old enough to buy beer in his native America was bouncing on to stage.
Dapperton is full of energy. He rattled through several tunes in rapid succession. Most of his songs are two or three minute, upbeat pop tracks. His influences seem to be musicians of the 80s, and both his music and his brightly coloured outfit were reminiscent of that heyday of light-hearted pop.
But though there is definitely a retro, dreamy feeling to many of his songs, he is not an artist stuck in the past. The harmonies he employs throughout are carefully chosen, and every moment appears to be meticulously crafted.
With choruses that suddenly inject some raw emotion into an otherwise laidback track, moments of perfectly-timed silence and clever changes of tempo
Most of all, he has a great handle over when to shift gear. With choruses that suddenly inject some raw emotion into an otherwise laidback track, moments of perfectly-timed silence and clever changes of tempo, Dapperton certainly knows how to construct a song.
However, Dapperton is absolutely at the beginning of his career. While he is able to sell-out shows all across Europe already, his back catalogue is pretty limited so far. In fairness to him, I think that he played every song he has released to date, but it still made for a disappointingly short set.
However brief it was, the set was almost perfect throughout. It including a jazzed up, party cover of Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You”. There was only one song that brought down the mood a little. “Moodna, Once with Grace” is a lazy ballad, that on the record has a smooth, chilled vibe. Played live, in the midst of neo-disco tracks, it just seemed to fall a bit flat.
Dapperton finished on a massive high though, playing out with his biggest track so far: “I’m Just Snacking”.
Dapperton finished on a massive high though, playing out with his biggest track so far: “I’m Just Snacking”. The off-beat percussion, gorgeous keyboard moments set it up perfectly. And if the chorus doesn’t put a smile on your face, then I’m afraid there may be something wrong with you.
For an encore, Dapperton channelled his inner Ferris Bueller, smashing out The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout”. Though sans-leopard-print, Dapperton had the audience hanging on every note just the same.
With his ability to fill a room, and bring some serious fun to his gigs, there is no doubt that Gus Dapperton is a name you’ll be hearing a whole lot more of soon.