Concert Review: Chet Faker, Barby, Tel Aviv, October 30

Indeed, while some songs felt spacious, the crowd filled the space by reciting every lyric back to him.

Australian electronic artist Chet Faker (photo credit: Courtesy)
Australian electronic artist Chet Faker
(photo credit: Courtesy)
“If you see someone with their phone out, I give you permission to smack it out of their hands,” Nicholas Murphy, aka Chet Faker, told the audience during his sold-out performance at The Barby Club on Thursday night.
“And if you don’t know what to do, just dance.”
The crowd gobbled it up and turned just the right shade of berserk, clapping, hugging and roaring with pleasure. His next request, to turn the lights down, was met with a heckling cry of; “No! I need to see my husband!” If ever there were doubts that this 26-year-old Aussie wunderkind’s quick rise to success was all marketing (he has released just one EP, Thinking in Textures, and his debut album, Built on Glass), he slapped them right out of the audience’s minds. A one-man band operating onstage with a modest collection of equipment, Faker’s 90 minutes of slow-burning electronic R&B contemporary composition, combined with a devoted crowd, made for an compelling performance.
His voice and multi-tracked arrays of redemptive tales were fleshed out with subtle keys and looping. When the first notes of his cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” were heard, almost every attendee (an early- to late-twenties crowd) appeared to be clawing the air. The hypnotic rhythm was briefly interrupted at the bridge, as he switched from a sensual groove to angelic soul singing, mesmerizing fans. Next, Faker slid back into his set, performing “Blush,” “I’m into You,” and “To Me.” During the stand-out track, “Gold,” his fingers flew over the toggles of his Midi controller so fast they might have been hot coals. Faker is so captivating to watch, it’s difficult to look away.
The most enthralling aspect of the night was Faker’s profound connection with his audience. Indeed, while some songs felt spacious,  the crowd filled the space by reciting every lyric back to him.
However, during a rant about the importance of indie artists making mistakes, he acknowledged that he still had a long way to go, saying, “I can’t always be magic.” Even in a small venue such as the Barby, it felt as though he were addressing a stadium crowd.
For an encore, he sang “Drop The Game” and a stripped down version of “Talk is Cheap.”
It doesn’t take a genius to realize Chet Faker, at least as a live draw, is a searing success at the moment.