It’s been just over a year since Chet Faker (real name Nicholas Murphy) played Glasgow for the first time, in Broadcast’s lovely basement.
A friend who was in attendance recounted to me disappointment at the fact that an accompanying band didn’t join him and felt overall that it wasn’t very interesting, so although I really like his recorded music, I’m very curious to see for myself if he’s able to convert it into an enthralling live show.
Confidence should be high because the gig has been upgraded from The Art School to the O2 ABC and on arrival it’s obvious that plenty of people haven’t missed their second chance to grab a ticket and help turn the venue into a not packed, but still very busy space.
The electronic folds of ‘Cigarettes and Chocolate’, from his first EP Thinking In Textures, lushly fill the room, making a very clear introductory statement that Chet Faker is a serious artist and not just a man who writes catchy songs to sing with his great voice.
Musicians using loops to “build” a song up is no longer exactly a novelty, but with this opener everything sounds awesome and already built from the beginning with Faker ducking and weaving around his set-up to manipulate it to be different from record (a trend for the rest of the set, too).
He is indeed bolstered by a couple of backing musicians, playing drums and guitar, which have very specific roles in the architecture of the set and the tastefulness of these additions is highly appreciated by the audience, who sway along to the corporeal grooves.
Faker’s stand-out ability really shines through in his mastery of switching the focus between the sensual, bassy sounds on songs like ‘Gold’ and the more indie-influenced guitar driven songs like ‘Cigarettes and Loneliness’, which features a huge, ecstatic ending that just aches with showmanship and energy.
Showmanship is indeed another skill altogether, but with the help of his laid back Australian-ness, Faker totally assumes control by issuing a plea that for just one song (his break-out cover hit ‘No Diggity’), everybody keeps their phones in their pockets.
The audience seems to honour the plea, and for the rest of the set I can’t help but notice that most people have chosen to forget their phones altogether, and the atmosphere change as a result is very positive.
Ending with a piano-solo version of ‘Talk is Cheap’, Faker puts the final, classy touches to a five-star gig which has convinced me that not many other musicians are capable of pulling off such a thorough and immersive live show as this.
Words: Greg Murray
Photos: Stewart Fullerton