Friday night was one to remember for Gus Dapperton fanatics and new listeners alike. After opening acts Yendawg and Spencer riled up the crowd, the anticipation was higher than ever as fans were pressed up against the bars, waiting for the big moment.
Gus’ arrival was just as “Gus Dapperton” as it could get. As each band member took their place while kicking off the opening song “Verdigris”, Gus pranced up to his microphone and greeted Boston warmly with his goofy moves. He then immediately captivated the audience as he smoothly transitioned his classic debut, “Moodna, Once With Grace”–in which he swayed with his bassist in the midst of the performance, a memorable moment for fans.
His band–consisting of his sister Amadelle and his close friends from home, have a special dynamic and chemistry that is incredibly welcoming. The band felt just as important to the show as Gus Dapperton himself, often a difficult balance to achieve for solo acts. Gus’s band gives him the ability to truly own the show–you can tell by the way he freely moves across the stage, interacts with the other members and engages the audience whenever he wants. His energy radiates into the crowd effortlessly, and I think it’s safe to say that his band plays a significant role in that.
Before he broke out into “Of Lacking Spectacle”, a fan favorite, he said to the crowd: “I’m gonna put my guitar down for a little bit and dance”. Along with being a skilled guitarist, producer, vocalist, and songwriter–Gus is widely known for his odd yet endearing dance moves. Often improvising along the way, he isn’t afraid to bring his personality into it–even if that means kicking his feet in the air and looking silly. Astonishingly, Gus perfectly kept up his powerful vocals while playing guitar and jumping up and down simultaneously. Depending on the song’s energy, he would either sing with a soft, calming falsetto or break out into raspy metal-like vocals. Gus certainly has a way of bringing great versatility to his synth-based music, even incorporating acoustic guitar into his performance at one point.
One upbeat song after another, there was finally a pause. You could feel the excitement of the crowd even through the silence–not knowing what was coming next. “You guys can dance for this one if you want to,” said Gus. Everyone immediately screamed, recognizing the opening guitar riff immediately as he began performing “Prune, You Talk Funny”: the song he may be most well known for. Not a single person in the room was standing still, and it was endearing to see his band jumping in sync together. Gus seemed just as excited to play this one as the whole audience was to hear it. Gus’s genuine love for his art shines through the commitment he has to each song he plays, all the while maintaining a steady humbleness. And even when the screams died down during the ballads, you could hear the lingering excitement within the silence. There’s a distinguishable difference between a bored crowd and a crowd that’s listening–and you could tell that most people in the room were hanging onto every one of Gus’ words.
Seeing the Royale filled with such a wide variety of faces and ages, it’s admirable to see how much Gus’s following has expanded over the past year or so. He puts on such an entertaining show purely by acing the art of performance, something that even some superstars fail at. If there’s one thing I figured out at this concert, it’s that you don’t get the full “Gus Dapperton experience” until you see him perform.