Gus Dapperton, a 22-year old New York singer/songwriter, arrives at the intimate setting of the Button Factory dressed in a velvet hot pink Turtleneck, paired with light pink sequin overall, fuscia tinted thick rimmed shades to accent his now iconic pink bowl haircut. Dapperton, known for his outspoken 90’s inspired style, did not disappoint his fans.
His first words get the crowd onside immediately- ‘Conas atá tú?’ he says charismatically. This is Dapperton’s second night gracing the Irish stage on the European leg of his 2019 tour. He enlightens his audience by stating he is ‘gonna play some songs for you this evening’. Although this is a generic phrase, it was said in such a casual and conversational tone that it was as if Dapperton was talking to his friends, not fans. Beginning his set with the well-known single, ‘Gum, Toe and Sole’, I must admit that he did have the location on his side. The beauty of a smaller venue such as the Button Factory is there is already an organic intimacy; a closeness between the audience and the performer due to the restricted capacity.
Dapperton manages to keep the crowd eagerly engaged throughout the show. His catalogue has an array of different tempos, allowing him to diversify his set. He varies tempo and tone seamlessly throughout; keeping fans on their toes by transiting from more emotionally intense songs such as ‘Moodna, Once with Grace’ to more high beat songs such as ‘Amadelle With Love’ and ‘Prune, You Talk Funny’. At one point, he allows his keyboardist Ruby Amadelle to do her original song ‘Matter over Mind’ or, in Dappertons words, gives us a ‘real treat’ that is ‘just for you, just for tonight’. He then proceeds to act almost as a hype man as Amadelle takes over the mic. Any audience member or innocent bystander could see the true comradery and respect he had for his fellow musicians on stage- there was a clear bond between himself and his bandmates.
Dapperton managed to include his recent 2019 release ‘My favourite fish’- a song about being head over heels in love with someone- a departure from most of his discography, which deals with heartbreak. He finishes his set with the song ‘World Class Cinema’. Not an obvious choice if you were to base the setlist on popularity. Perhaps better placed somewhere in the middle of the set. However, I believe it showed that Dapperton curated this setlist himself and had creative control both aesthetically and logistically when developing the flow of the show. Of course, the classic echo of the Irish encore starts with a loud ‘Ole Ole Ole’ and it’s not long before the band returns. They finish out with a cover of the Beatles hit ‘Twist and Shout’ which causes the audience to start to dance uncontrollably. Although we were in the basement of a club in Temple Bar in the centre of Dublin, Dapperton has the innate ability to transcend the crowd from 2019 to a 1960s dance club.
Even as Dapperton’s pink aura leaves the stage, his enigmatic energy doesn’t fade. He transformed the crowd, which consisted of a collection of strangers one hour prior, who had now found a common joy through the miniature mosh pits that defined the gig. This resonating feeling left me knowing that Dapperton’s live dynamic stage presence will be a testament to him in his future career when performing in high capacity venues.
By Evelyn Tierney – Music Writer