Shenu Talks: Gus Dapperton and The Polly People

by Shenu Kathymoon

The night the Polly People US Tour landed in New Orleans; the city was nursing a cold front. The restlessness that comes with a Tuesday and the urge to unwind on a weekday night merged together to form quite a relaxed, but upbeat audience. To a crowd that’s there to see Gus Dapperton, the potential of a full venue wasn’t quite reached with the opening band, Spencer., but fans of Dapperton quickly realized why it was a good decision to come to the show early.

Spencer. is a twenty-year-old artist based in Rochester, New York whose music refines what it means to be “experimental.” His voice soothes in R&B and drops to Hip-Hop where it lifts and sways in frothy indie melodies. Notably, he donned a light blue denim bucket hat and a black and white striped shirt with an embroidered yellow flower. It was a simple outfit choice but reverberated the kind of aesthetic parallel to his album artwork and personality. He was engaging with not only the audience, but with his accompanying band where he made sure to credit a particular guitar or drum solo. By the near end of his set, guitarist Luke Diamond was receiving a full non-sponsored Barbasol shave onstage and the setlist escalated to include Spencer.’s most prominent singles.

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Image source: Gus Dapperton’s website

Gus Dapperton followed soon after.

Gus Dapperton is a musician hailing from Long Branch, NJ with heavy influences from his childhood and hometown in Warwick, NY. His iconic quirky style of a bowl cut, and an oversized long sleeve top was made concrete as fans got a glimpse of him onstage while Spencer. was performing. He was wearing small-framed boxy glasses, a grey oversized button-down shirt, and a bleached hairstyle that was of course, in a bowl cut. This iconic look of his has separated him from other indie artists and has launched him into opportunities in high-quality music video production, photoshoots, and Vogue featurettes. A part of what makes a star is their style and Dapperton serves effortless 90’s nostalgia.

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The first song played was uncoincidentally the first song on his new album, “Where Polly People Go to Read.” It was, “Verdigris.” Bassist Yen Dawg brought in the audience into a low, sudsy trance. Keyboardist and Dapperton’s sister Ruby Amadelle added in a layer of the grainy hard drive of what makes Dapperton’s tracks sound unique and not overproduced. Drummer Henry Lyons added rhythm to match. At that point, Dapperton appeared on stage in a buoyancy and kind of bubbly energy that immediately picked up the audience and halted any kind of studio-artist preconceptions one might have had. Dapperton’s emphasis on the raw and textured sound of analog instrumentals and vocals is only made clearer in the design of his live performances.  

Tracks on his new album alone have acquired millions of views on multiple streaming platforms. 

His setlist followed as such:

  1. Verdigris. Where Polly People Go to Read. Track 01.
  2. Coax & Botany. Where Polly People Go to Read. Track 05.
  3. Moodna, Once With Grace. Single.
  4. Amadelle With Love. You Think You’re a Comic. Track 03.
  5. Beyond Amends. You Think You’re a Comic. Track 04.
  6. Ditch. Single.
  7. Prune, You Talk Funny. You Think You’re a Comic. Track 01.
  8. I Have Lost My Pearls. You Think You’re a Comic!. Track 02.
  9. Sockboy. Where Polly People Go to Read. Track 06.
  10. Of Lacking Spectacle. 13 Reasons Why (Season 2) Soundtrack. Track 18.
  11. Eyes for Ellis. Where Polly People Go to Read. Track 04.
  12. My Favorite Fish. Where Polly People Go to Read. Track 08.
  13. Gum, Toe, and Sole. Yellow and Such. Track 03.
  14. I’m Just Snacking. Yellow and Such. Track 01.

Dapperton’s energy and visible closeness with Dawg, Amadelle, and Lyons highlights his roots with his day-one close knit community. His recognition since his 2015 Soundcloud days has skyrocketed to include a worldwide fanbase big enough for two full-fledged tours thus far. If Dapperton is scheduled to play in your city, I highly suggest giving his music a listen and considering a night out to see an artist put on an uplifting show and genuinely enjoy the fruition of his journey with his fans.

Check out Gus Dapperton on Spotify and Instagram!

Shenu Kathymoon

Shenu Kathymoon (she/her) was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Miami, nurturing her worldly views with numerous travels over the years while residing in New Orleans. She studied under the creative direction of Jen Karetnick, a Miami-based writer, poet, and critic for 11 years before attending college. She is now an undergraduate student at Tulane University en route to earning a BA in Sociology with a minor in Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship and a TESL Endorsement. She has also been a DJ for college-based radio stations such as WTUL New Orleans 91.5 FM. She has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Rattle Magazine, Wales Literature Council, Pittsburgh Poetry Houses, and Élan International Literary Magazine. Her work encompasses her Sri Lankan background and American foreground, ever inspired by lotus flowers, the wonderful people in her life, lush Spotify playlists, the process of photography, and accessible sustainability movements.

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