This time last year, Nick Murphy AKA Chet Faker, had music fans eagerly anticipating new work – after a successful collab with Flume on the Lockjaw EP. Fast forward a year later, and he’s coming home on a sold-out tour. Built on Glass released in April 2014 and Murphy definitely exploded into the limelight. Successful festival runs both home and internationally, sold out tours in America and across Europe, before taking the Hottest 100 with ‘Talk is Cheap’; Chet Faker has had a huge year. It’s only right that his intimate Melbourne shows have felt like a homecoming party since he hit the stage at the Palais Theatre.
Attending the Thursday night show of a 5 (!!) Palais gigs, the audience was filled to the brim, with a wide demographic showcasing the versatility and accessibility of Murphy’s soulful tracks. Hood down, ready to go, Murphy burst out onto the stage and immediately set about setting the mood. Crouching down, bent over the decks like a scientist conducting an experiment, Cigarettes and Chocolates filled the room. A perfect song to open with, the multiple samples building to a room filling beautiful groove; it had begun. I was a little bit hesitant about having to sit down, but Murphy had the audience under his spell from that first song.
Acknowledging his hometown and thanking everyone for coming out, you could tell Murphy was not overwhelmed by his massive 2014, and very much grounded in his Chet Faker persona. Moving through soulful tracks ‘Melt’ and ‘Release Your Problems’, the former St Kevin’s College choir member constantly showcased his versatility in his vocal range. Melt in particular had the audience entranced, with Murphy’s lower register echoing throughout the theatre and proving a set highlight.
Whether it was on keys, mixing or simply singing backed by his band, Murphy made it a seamless experience, with transitions smooth and never breaking the trance the crowd was under. ‘To Me’ perfectly highlighted this versatility both on instrument and voice. Already a track I really loved off Built on Glass, the track began with Murphy looping a Capella lyrics on top each other, creating amazing harmonies, with a perfect falsetto cutting through the lower harmonics. This perfectly showcased the talents of Chet Faker, and was a beautiful moment in the set. Not complacent with putting intros, twists and variations on his own tunes, Murphy announced that he was going to perform a Van Morrison cover, before launching into a cover of ‘Moondance’. Slowing it down, and really making it quite haunted, the cover was yet another piece of music that had the audience glued to their seat and their eyes on Murphy.
Saluting the crowd and thanking them for their support of his independent music, Murphy was enjoying the intimate spectacle he had created amongst his hometown fans. Now however, it was time to get off your feet, as the familiar opening chords of the Blackstreet cover No Diggity had the crowd roaring and grooving within seconds. I, like most of the crowd, didn’t sit down for the rest of the set, as ‘Drop the Game’ and ‘Gold’ in particular proving showstoppers. Seeing ‘Gold’ being performed on the Ellen DeGeneres Show really made me appreciate the track more, with the version played with the band much more grand and heavy. Seeing this live was what I was truly anticipating, and it didn’t disappoint, proving to be the best track of the night.
Fittingly, Murphy had the audience in anticipation, teasing out the melody of ‘Talk is Cheap’ through a funky intro on his signature Fender Rhodes keyboard. Finally launching into the sing-a-long soulful tune that left audiences applauding upon its completion. Listening to Chet Faker through my headphones is a premier experience, though I would never have assumed I would be dancing to any of the tracks on Built on Glass. Murphy’s stage presence, humble and brilliant changed that, as it was one of the most complete gigs I’ve been to in a while. Hats off to you Nick Murphy, you’ve arrived.