Chet Faker at The Academy, Dublin, 18th November 2014
There is often a perception with electronic musicians that all they’re doing on stage is pressing play, and that there’s no real need to see them in concert.
On the very night that Chet Faker was due in The Academy, his debut album ‘Built In Glass’, recently named Triple J album of the year, was being played in full by the Australian radio station. Surely tuning in to that would be the equivalent of his live set?
Faker takes to the stage with confidence, putting to shame every half-baked attempt at movember in the room with his grizzly beard and ‘tache. He quickly warms the crowd up with instrumental track Home, before jumping into album material with Blush.
As on the album Blush leads straight into the massive 1998. The power this song commands over listeners in a live setting is palpable, the steady beats puppeteering a sea of swinging arms and nodding heads. It almost seems a bit early in the set to unleash such a beast, but we give Chet the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Moving onto earlier material, we are treated to some more vocally-driven tracks, which see Faker’s stunning, soulful voice projected in full. His ability to deliver a better-than-recording vocal is just astounding given that he’s simultaneously playing piano and controlling all his equipment, bouncing from end to end of his rig and rapidly twidling knobs like a kangaroo on speed.
Chet Faker is of course not his real name. The Australian is Nicholas Murphy by birth, a surname which he jokes, “is common as f*** over here,” in a loose claim at celtic roots. He interacts comfortably with the crowd, at one point giving an impassioned monologue about the importance of independent music, mainly thanking the fans packed into the sold-out venue.
Acknowledging that parts of his songs are pre-programmed, Faker says “the possibility to f*** up” on stage is important for live music. Putting his midi-controller where his mouth is, he sets up a entirely improvised track from scratch that hypnotises the crowd completely, and builds up to an absolutely killer drop.
His set peaks as his acclaimed cover of No Diggit melts perfectly into Drop The Game, a collaboration with fellow Auzzie electronic musician Flume.
He ends a three-song encore with a moving piano-only rendition of Talk Is Cheap. The sheer volume of the crowd for this track brings him close to tears by the end.
The call for a second encore is even louder than the first, but sadly it doesn’t materialise. Ending the night on such a high, Chet Faker doesn’t need to retake the stage. He has nothing left to prove.