Chet Faker is a polarizing artist. For the most part, Australian music fans over the last few years would be able to offer an opinion on the home-grown muso of at least “I like him” or “I don’t,” and I’ll admit to being one to go from the latter to the former since his debut album Built On Glass hit my playlist.
While it sucks to admit the biggest music poll in the world has such affect on what we like and why we like it (how basic), owning this year’s triple j Hottest 100 has had an undeniable impact on Nick Murphy’s reach.
Even though I’d prefer to have been one of the many that has worshipped the bearded multi-instrumentalist since his humble beginnings rather than jumping on the bandwagon, anything that catapults this man and his music to the masses is fine by me. His performance last night at Melbourne’s the Palais Theatre only provdc why he should be seen and heard by all that are willing.
A long way from the sparkling lights of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Murphy’s homecoming was a celebration of an incredible album, the year that has been and the hard work of an entire career. After an erratic and tension building instrumental opening, Murphy noted how “civilized” the show was, his hometown audience watching from the comfort of their seats, with nothing but a few nodding heads and the odd howl of encouragement to spur him on.
While in most cases this would be a sign of boredom, the depth and complexity in his performance was not lost on this crowd. The music washed over the room, mesmerizing us into a state of hypnosis. No track did this better than To Me, a stunning, acapella layered harmony playing on a loop, vibrating through every inch of the Melbourne institution.
Likewise, his moody cover of Van Morrison’s Moondance lulled us into submission, until a lone fan defied the crowds and… STOOD UP. She swayed away while the rest of us sat, like someone speaking loudly in a hushed library. It scored her a nod and a wink from the man on stage.
Slowly the crowd began to rise, No Diggity providing the nail in the coffin for the energy-sucking party poopers complaining “down in front.” There was no going back from here. The room was alive. Murphy took a moment to acknowledge the love, thanking his fans of old and calling Melbourne a “real crowd”.
The second half of the show was packed with crowd pleasers. From Flume collab Drop The Game to encore kick-off Cigarettes And Loneliness and fan favourite Gold, Murphy’s musical prowess was evident throughout. He feels the songs with every inch of his body, morphing into a kind of human instrument himself, possessed by sound. The keyboard, the synth, the guitar, the mic all becoming extensions of the man, the music vibing through him right down to his erratic dancing feet.
Unsurprisingly the celebration culminated in Hottest 100 winning track Talk Is Cheap, the bandwagon jumpers rewarded for their patience with a chance to echo every lyric, the room thanking the man for an astounding show.
Gallery: Chet Faker @ the Palais Theatre, Melbourne 25.02.15 / Photos by Alesha Martyn