Someone challenged me to write this review without mentioning his beard and to that I say: sod it let’s put it in the opening line. All beards aside, Chet Faker cannot be reduced to a bunch of well groomed follicles. Far exceeding the image he puts across, in the last year Australian musician Nick Murphy (aka Chet Faker) has stormed the music industry with his organic, independent sound and this sold out London show is an obvious testament to that. In fact, the demand was so high that tickets with a face value of £14 were being sold at well over £90; the price hikes were disgraceful but evident that Chet was a price worth paying for.
Leaning against the stage I took a moment to watch the crowd’s faces shine with elation when the lights dimmed and a sapphire beam glazed over their eyes. A euphoria was amongst the room as Chet’s vocals pierced through the silence. As if the audience weren’t excited enough, the opening to beat-heavy ‘1998’ burst through the speakers and the energy surmounted any passivity. We knew this was just the beginning; Chet Faker left the comfort of his mixing board to greet the crowd and throw down some shapes.
Taking us back to where it all started in his makeshift garage studio–where he recorded his 2012 EP Thinking in Textures he followed on with ‘Terms and Conditions’ and ‘I’m Into You’, Faker blushing as voices echoed his own. Just as his set had gained a steady pace Chet announced, “I think it’s important for artists to be able to fuck up on stage,” telling fans to abandon their phones and just enjoy the moment- where Faker would create an original song. This ingenious injection of creativity opened up a moment that would exclusively be shared with solely the audience and Chet himself, and of course the song was momentous. This exhibition of his innate talent led smoothly into ‘Cigarettes & Chocolate’ and not a single soul could quite contain themselves.
Much of Faker’s work conceals his voice over layers and effects, which had us quite astonished when we were presented with a very lucid access to his vocals. Enjoying his jazz-laced harmonies, Chet trailed off towards the end of the song and says “I’m gonna play the song that started it all”. Backtracked by whispers of rumoured guesses, he launches into his infamous cover of Blackstreet’s 1996 hit ‘No Diggity’. He indulged the crowd and held out his mic to capture the lyrics being belted at the stage as we unanimously chanted “Hey yo, hey yo, hey yo, hey yo, no diggity”. Faker seamlessly merged the end of ‘No Diggity’ to create the climatic peak of the night as he simultaneously ‘Drop(ped) The Game’; the opening beat had the crowd raising one hand and exclaiming “Oooh” as if playing a part in some gangsta sitcom. After those ten minutes of ecstasy it was safe to say the hype was deserved for this handsome chap, and nothing he could do would change his saintly status.
Suffering from an absolute rush of adrenalin, we were pleased to see Chet Faker return on stage to calm the horde of sweaty fans. Stripping down his set to perform an intimate version of ‘Talk is Cheap’, he blistered the room with intensity and we left the venue very much alive.
Chet has had to postpone his Glasgow appearance until June due to apparent illness and withdrawals from “bae” (aka sleep). I for one cannot wait to hear the music that comes as a result of his ongoing exhausted, delusional state, which has come as a result of a gruelling tour schedule which has seen him play over 100 shows this year.