At no other point have the quaint, monochromatic walls of Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms become so elated with colour and spectacle as on Friday, 1st March, when Gus Dapperton took to their stage. Marking his first ever UK tour following his recent breakthrough onto the Season 2 soundtrack for Netflix’s popular series, ’13 Reasons Why’, Dapperton aspired to introduce his character with the greatest panache. Indeed, fans were not disappointed by the manifestation of 90s flair that dominated the evening, combined with a retro-indie style to gather audiences together in shared, intimate nostalgia.
The evening commenced warmly, under the cheery disposition of Bedfordshire schoolboy and up-and-coming musician Alfie Templeman, performing from his first EP “Like an Animal“, released in October of last year. His charismatic spirit combined with the feel-good, synthesised tones of his music certainly kindled the brightest spark for the fire that was soon to commence, relishing audiences in excitement and moving them worlds away from traditional “polite head bobbing”. Undeniably, he was what could only be described as an exceptional supporting act.
Though the intimacy of Rescue Rooms allowed for a closer relationship with the action, this promise only fuelled the anticipation for Dapperton’s arrival. The constant teasing of sound checks and shadowy figures across the stage combined with the hallowed darkness of the space seemed to go on for an eternity. It wasn’t long, however, before whittled murmurs turned into echoing screams as his brightly coloured band finally took to the stage.
Dazzling fans in a striking all-pink, all-glitter outfit (with pink sunglasses to match, of course), Gus Dapperton begins the evening with his classic single “Gum, Toe and Sole”, deliberately commencing absent from the stage. The piece’s rhythmic, summery instrumentation combined with its sombre lyrics and steady build warm the audience to a euphoric buzz. Dapperton’s energy bounces off the stage from the very first moment. This was quickly followed by “Moodna, One With Grace”, one of Dapperton’s first singles to gain popularity amongst his early online repertoire. Its soft melody is an ode to bedroom indie, combining analog synths to maintain a nostalgic feel. He begins to interact with his supporting band by joining them with his own electric guitar. We are suddenly met with a gust of unfamiliarity, or else a nod to Dapperton’s oldest fans, for “In Fluorescence”, another of his SoundCloud emergent singles not yet to be widely released. This contrasts heavily with the heavy synth beats of “Amadelle With Love”, which he graciously invites us all to dance along to. Still high from the adrenaline of our own movements, Dapperton engages in his own as “Ditch” begins; swaying his arms as if in a deep trance charged by his own melodies.
Fans are sent soaring and quickly reach greater depths over the highly anticipated “Prune, You Talk Funny“, marking the peak of the evening as passionate singing and bouncing provide the thrill every good performance longs for. After cooling our sultry bodies with the calming tracks of “I Have Lost My Pearls”, on which the absence of keyboard allows for a gentler melody, and “Of Lacking Spectacle”, his featured single on the ’13 Reasons Why’ soundtrack, we are greeted with the latest and most soulful single, “My Favourite Fish”. A change from electric to acoustic permeates the room with warming nostalgia, which is quickly shaken by Dapperton’s journey into the audience, triggering an electric frenzy for his attention yet not taking away from the seductive rhythms of the ballad.
The evening is drawn to a close with two classic favourites; “I’m Just Snacking” and “World Class Cinema“. Whilst one gushes with 90s impression and fervour, electrified by Dapperton’s animated character, the other sets the room pulsating with an infectious rhythm, steering the audience into their own little cinematic worlds as their hands wave to the beat. Yet, the night did not end upon Gus’ goodbye, as cries for ‘encore’ triggered a high-energy rendition of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout”, transforming Rescue Rooms into a 60s dancefloor for a brief moment as we danced wildly to the well-loved score.
Overall, Gus Dapperton and his team performed with so much zest and energy that it will surely make a lasting impression on all that attended. With the sudden growth in popularity for nostalgic rhythms and retro sounds, it is undeniable that this musician will excel in years to come, and it’s been delightful to see just how brightly his colourful soul can shine. It was great to have you Gus, here’s to next time.
Written for The Mic Magazine: Nottingham, March 2019