Review: Gus Dapperton at Engine Rooms, Southampton

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Gus Dapperton's bedroom pop effortlessly upscales to fill the rafters of Engine Rooms and comes alive with the help of a full band.

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I hadn’t been to Engine Rooms for a while and, oh, how I’d missed it. First support Rainy Miller was followed by Pig, aka Oscar Lang. Pig’s effervescence oozed off the stage into the crowd, and so did that of his bandmates. He shared a token of wisdom along the lines of “my experience of gigs is that you’ll probably never see anyone here ever again” – so why not cut loose? His advice and his set were tempting, and a lot of people took him up on his offer and danced along with him, as he offered us dreamy lo-fi genre-melding stuff, with stand-outs ‘Liking All Your Posts’, ‘Snacks’ and the deliciously saxophone-full ‘Not Fair’.

Who knew ‘Gum, Toe and Sole’’s a capella intro would serve as the perfect entrance music for Gus Dapperton’s band and the man himself. The catchy “daah dah dah dah”s had everyone in a frenzy by the time he made it to the stage, and he sustained that buzz for the entirety of the set.

Between Gus’ signature dance moves, his high energy keyboard player and his constantly bopping bassist, the stage was set for entertainment. Not one for standing still, he made his way over to the barrier a couple times and even had a few members of the crowd on stage. Sharing his time between cutting shapes and guitar playing, he grooved his way through songs like ‘Of Lacking Spectacle’ and its lo-fi ascending keys and new single, ‘My Favourite Fish’, which proved one of the highlights of the night. Then, with songs like ‘Prune, You Talk Funny’, he left it in the capable hands of the willing audience members to do the heavy lifting, dancing wise.

Having a good old boogie was definitely Gus’ gift for the evening. His bedroom pop had found a warm and welcoming second home for the night at Engine Rooms, with the audience in top form and singing along to much of the set. There’s just something so enticing about his lo-fi pop, from his effortless sense of style, his satisfying dance moves that find the grooves in songs you didn’t even know were there, to the catchy choruses like “you’re my favourite fish, you’re my favourite”, that you’ll carry on chanting for days at a time.

This dancing theme continued with the one we’d all been waiting for, ‘World Class Cinema’, and then when he and the band came back on stage to cover ‘Twist and Shout’ for the tireless crowd. Not so much twisting and shouting à la the swinging sixties, but all the jumping going on was just as infectious. Even when that was over, we wanted more.

Gus Dapperton’s European Tour continues, including dates in London and Nottingham. Check out all tour dates here.

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Fourth year French and English student and 2018/19 Live Editor for The Edge.

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