Musician Gus Dapperton Brings His Eclecticism to The Fonda

What do 80s synth-pop, psychedelia, bowl cuts, and oversized jackets all have in common? 22-year-old Gus Dapperton is bringing them all back into mainstream popular culture.

Since December of 2017, Dapperton has released numerous singles, three four-track EPS, and – most recently – his first full-length album, Where Polly People Go to Read. The current 2019 United States leg of his tour is named after the album: “The Polly People US Tour.” Dapperton’s tour took him to The Fonda Theatre, a Hollywood-based concert venue, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2019.

Born Brendan Rice in the small town of Warwick, New York, the artist created his alter ego at the age of 17, feeling a desire to let go of his adolescent insecurities and become somebody who could freely express himself without hesitation. By renaming himself “Gus Dapperton,” the musician granted himself the permission to embrace his individuality and pursue his creative passions to the fullest.

While Dapperton’s more mainstream hits are generally upbeat and rhythmic – Prune, You Talk Funny and I’m Just Snacking both have over 25 million Spotify listens – his set intermingled lively tunes with more mellowed songs.

“I can connect to his music much more than I can to, like, anybody else’s,” said Los Angeles native Thomas Giner. “I can connect some life experiences to his lyrics, so that’s why [he]...really gets me.”

Over his past two years on the music scene, Dapperton’s individualized dancing style has become a signature of his, and his Monday performance at The Fonda proved that he is well-deserving of this reputation. Whether he was kicking his legs up into the air, throwing his body onto the stage floor, or waving his arms in every direction, his carefree and spontaneous movements created an on-stage display that paired with his techno beats.

Dapperton flies solo when it comes to recording, producing, and mixing, but for live performances he is accompanied by his two best friends and his sister, who happen to be musicians themselves. The backbone of intimacy and comfort created by the tightly-knit quartet of bandmates was evident in both the chemistry and energy on-stage.

At around the halfway mark, Dapperton’s performance of Eyes for Ellis was prefaced with a removal of his guitar and the clarification that the “next song is a dance song, feel free to dance if you’d like to, [the band] will also be dancing on stage.” The eager look in his eyes and smile on his face as he looked around at his fellow bandmates instantly created a stir and laughter amidst the crowd.

“His music puts you into another universe,” said Los Angeles resident April Brown. “It makes you feel good in a way, like it’s comforting and it’s like everything that you need at that time.”

The audience encompassed all ages, though the largest – and loudest – demographic was prepubescent teenage girls and boys. Those under 13 asserted their dominance in the crowd by shouting requests such as, “let me touch your bicep!” and “make me cry!”

Many concertgoers agreed that they could feel the depth and vulnerability behind Dapperton’s performance, whether it was through finding comfort in the lyrics of Moodna, Once with Grace, or trying to decode the fanciful language in I’m Just Snacking.

“I think the way he sings, how he’ll put raw emotion into it...he puts his one hundred percent effort always and you can just feel it in the music,” said Los Angeles native Astrid Flores. “He feels everything he sings.”

Dapperton and his band closed off the show with their own personal rendition of The Beatles’s classic, Twist and Shout, and a very polite send off to the audience: “It was very nice to have you.”

Gus Dapperton commands audiences at The Fonda, bringing fans to press themselves up against the barriers. ( Jackie Sedley / Culture Editor)

Gus Dapperton commands audiences at The Fonda, bringing fans to press themselves up against the barriers. (Jackie Sedley / Culture Editor)