Chet Faker @ The Toff – 19/04/2012

The evening I have been waiting for ever since I heard of this Chet Faker fellow came around after all these months and the excitement was palpable for my friends and I. Pushing through that massive door that leads into the Toff’s band room not too long before the man himself made his debut with the drawing of the red velvet curtains (yes, I did not see I’lls’, sorry about that. I’lls’ try and see them next time), the two six foot something guys finally moved out of the front of the stage for the sake of the diminutive patrons and it began.
I am always curious as to how musicians who rely on technology bring forth a genuine sense of music to the stage; in this case I was not too sure what to expect but when Nick Murphy (the man behind Chet) accompanied by a keyboard, laptop and sampler were backed up with a drummer, guitarist and bassist. Opening with “Chocolate and Cigarettes” I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of sound. Faker’s vocals had less of the gravelly quality one would expect and instead they were a little more melodic. Beyond the occasional alteration of the vocals to make the tiny Toff sound a bit cavernous the natural vocals sounded great and given that the live arrangement is relatively new it worked well. With the backdrop of kaleidoscopic floral patterns, stars and diamonds, visually it was captivating, too.
However, the highlight of the evening was finding out what the man behind the music was like. The press release reads like Murphy wants to be known as a mysterious figure but in the flesh it turns he is a pretty honest and darn funny guy, getting a rise from the crowd in between each song. On the back of stating that he doesn’t like his track “Jeans and Wallet” (given the difficulty of singing over your own voice live) some gimp in the crowd yells “That’s what she said!” After an awkward silence, Faker just said “…okay then” and pressed on, which cracked me up. He explained the meaning behind each song deadpan and touching on a truth I think we can all understand with the introduction to “Solo Sunrise”: “…trying to get home before the sun comes up. But the sun beats you. And you just feel broken. But you feel good because you stayed out all night.”   
After the fake encore he was good enough to state that he hates doing them (finally, an artist agrees!) and states he is about to do a cover. Of course everyone assumes it will be “No Diggity” but it turns out to be something else, unfortunately I still do not know what it was but the place was dead silent during the downtempo, soulful tune. Then he got into the other cover which included an extra verse but it would be a stretch to say it was his best song of the evening, perhaps the anticipation was too ardent or that his renditions of his other songs were more sensual, it is hard to say. The set ended after just under an hour and he was good enough to stick around and sign CDs and have a bit of a chat with people, again demonstrating his down-to-earth demeanour.
Chet Faker will soon be off doing bigger and better things, with a trip to the UK planned in the coming months as well as a spot on the Splendour in the Grass line up, so Sunday was definitely a rare opportunity to meet a man well on his way to stardom.  
by Mason Smith

April 28th 2012
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