Gus Dapperton, the artistic stage persona of 22-year-old Brendan Rice, is not one to shy away from a crowd’s attention. Even though he considers himself to be “quite introverted,” as he said in an interview with The Daily Californian, his onstage presence at the Regency Ballroom on Oct. 15 proved otherwise.
The first song of the night was a spirited performance of “Verdigris” off of his new album, Where Polly People Go To Read. Limbs were flying around the stage as the spirited performer danced across his space, veins popping out of his neck as he waveringly hit the high notes.
Throughout this opening performance, it was easy to hear the strain in Rice’s voice as he reached for the belting high notes. This may have been more nerves than ability, as the next song, “Coax & Botany,” began the flawless streak of the night. It seemed as though once the first song was over, Rice felt more than comfortable and adjusted to the feeling of being on stage.
Rice’s sister, Amadelle, took her spotlight behind the keyboard for the evening. A performer herself, the instrumentalist and backup vocalist danced as if no one was watching, waving her arms with whimsical, model-like grace. It was clear she was having a good time with the San Francisco crowd, and her beautiful backup runs on “Moodna, Once With Grace” complemented those of her brother as if they were truly made to perform together.
Turning to the crowd, Rice explained that the next part of the show would be for the band to take requests. They turned down joking requests of Beethoven’s fifth and Skrillex’s “Bangarang,” instead settling on the glory of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” The running joke of people yelling, “Play ‘Wonderwall!’ ” at any given live performance will truly never get old, and Gus Dapperton’s band took on the challenge with unparalleled ease.
In fact, the group seemed to improvise the entire rendition. After taking a second to listen back to the song, the instrumentalists caught on as if they’d been practicing this song for years. It almost seemed as if they had rehearsed this before, but this may have been debunked by watching Amadelle as she navigated the song by ear throughout the performance with a concentrated look on her face.
Going back into more originals, “Gum, Toe and Sole” sent crowd members surfing as the da-da-da-ing ensued and the now-shirtless Rice guided fans through the melodies. Shocked looks appeared on Rice’s face as he watched the perfect chaos of the audience, but each look was lined with happiness toward his devoted and fun-loving crowd.
“I’m Just Snacking” was the icing on the cake for this energetic night. While strumming away at his guitar, Rice jumped around the stage toward each member of the band, taking a moment to revel in the love and share it with everyone around him. He often jokingly stuck his tongue out at his sister when the crowd got especially loud, but it seemed to show just how good of a time they were having together.
And after they walked offstage, the band nearly convinced the audience that an encore might not happen. But after the lights went dark and a red gleam came from behind the drums, the young performers were back with “World Class Cinema.” A for-sure crowd favorite, the opener, Spencer., came out to join Rice by bravely stage-diving into the crowd.
Unfortunately, the audience didn’t exactly seem to catch him. “How could you not catch him?” Rice humorously strained from the stage.
san francisco that was mighty racist of you to not catch me during my stage dive 😳
— Spencer. (@spencerperiod) October 16, 2019
In an earth-shattering ending, the beginning chords of “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles sent the house roaring. This is not the first time Gus Dapperton has ended a San Francisco show with this legendary tune, but surely no one could ever tire of the nostalgic rasp Rice never fails to bring to the table.