With colour schemes as spasmodic and vibrant as his revival 60s through 90s sound and a maturely stylised image that has earned him acclaim from Vogue to i-D, it is hard to believe that, not only has Gus not released his first full-length LP yet, but he is only twenty-one years old. Mr Dapperton graces London's Oval Space for a confident and mellow gig.
Photo credit: Jess Farran
Being on tour sporadically for the last year has earned Gus a lot of truly passionate devotees and it is as if everyone's already been dancing to the addictively funky beats of Prune, You Talk Funny – you know a crowd is going to be great when they are singing and dancing to Ain't No Mountain High Enough well before the main act is meant to come on!
Our tall, bowl-haired, indie-disco kid finally graces the stage in chrome overalls, a long-sleeved shiny silver top and black art-deco glasses, to an intimate audience of exactly what you would expect to find in East London: vibrant, expressive and enthusiastic. Gus has found his audience here. It honestly feels like a welcome home party in a makeshift warehouse, but that is Oval Space for you, and it works.
Aside from newcomers My Favourite Fish, World Class Cinema and an unreleased song, the setlist is largely the same as last year's The Garage show, though the band have notably matured since then. Everything is smoother, more engaging and Gus has become yet more confident – which is saying a lot considering the already strong foundations built previously. What can I say? Gus on-stage is exactly what you expect, from his fashionably nerdy personality, to the instantly recognisable dance improvisations from Just Snacking that have come to define him.
You can't help but recognise the culmination of so many different influences by the time the encore cover song, Twist and Shout, comes on (the same encore song as last year), sending everyone into a jangle of limb-based shaking. There is a certain charm and grace about Gus that makes you want to raise him up as an icon for free expression, perhaps something akin to Bowie. We end the night with a front-flip stage dive and I hope the same enthusiasm and energy carries into Gus's debut LP. I look forward to seeing fans with neon bowl-cuts next time.
Gus's debut album Where Polly People Go To Read is released on April 19th, via AWAL Recordings.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor