Chet faker @ o2 Abc, glasgow

Carla Jenkins

What’s the word for something that makes you feel simultaneously completely chilled out as well as spine-tinglingly excited? It’s one that I’ve been searching for for the past few days, since watching Chet Faker at the O2 ABC in Glasgow (the gig was moved from the Art School due to the high demand for sales). I feel that these types of contradictions are the best types; one that makes you double-back on yourself, reviewing your memories of a particular time to make sure that you were definitely feeling what everyone else was feeling. Was it chilled out jazz vibes? Or excited electronica beats? Were we meant to be dancing, or just standing? Were we stuck in limbo between? Seeing Chet Faker was most definitely one of those experiences. 

Massively talented, yet quietly so, Faker – real name Nick Murphy – oscillated his set between mellow, chilled tracks to soul-filled sing-a-longs and electronic numbers that wheedled their way underneath your skin and made you want to dance. 

A soundboard that is not to be competed with, he proved himself incredibly competent in terms of musicality, seamlessly transitioning between his Rhodes keyboard, an electric Fender, and his mixing deck. Accompanied only by a guitarist and a drummer, the set incorporated lighting so well that the gig became an audio-visual experience, particularly with the finishing song Talk is Cheap that ended with just Faker on the keyboard, his silhouette illuminated by a single spotlight and the whole crowd singing along, completely enraptured by his performance. There wasn’t a single whisper ushered in the room.

Faker is indeed an energetic and captivating performer. His long set, which incorporated much-loved favourites 1998, To Me and Talk is Cheap as well as covers of No Diggity and Van Morrison’s Moondance was exciting and entertaining from beginning to end. Unafraid to be vocal with the audience, Faker asked for all phones to be put away for No Diggity, giving us permission to ‘just slap it out their hands’ if we saw anyone failing to comply, reminding us to live the experience for what it was. 

Faker was chatty and connected well, never in the same place for long. The winner of the night was definitely To Me, where he created the main riff using his voice on loop, repeating ‘you keep calling’ and showing the layers of depth that form his music. On top of creating a great build-up to the ultimate climax, it made the beauty of the simplicity in his lyrics shine: ‘you keep on lying to me’ ‘you’re giving it all for nothing, I know’ ‘talk is cheap my darling’ and ‘I wanna kiss your knees and try to be bold.’

Once a bedroom producer, Faker now tours extensively and holds five ARIA awards under his belt. His performance at the ABC that night demonstrated exactly why. He belongs to a new breed of musician; the type that harks back to the old days of gigs that weren’t seen through the lens of an iPhone camera, where real instruments were played on stage and where loops were built from scratch, in front of an audience’s eyes. He doesn’t just show us what he does and how he does it, he hands it to us on a plate. Yes, Talk may be Cheap, but the gig wordlessly proved that Chet deserves to be the one to watch for 2015.