“900 people? That’s fucking cozy. Turn the AC off, I wanna get sweaty,” said Chet Faker. Usually, that would come off as cheese-ball—a party trick at a Girl Talk show. Only a few songs into his set at the sold-out Paradise, this offhand line became a part of Chet’s earnestness, another way to erase walls between performer and audience. The soul crooner from Melbourne was clearly a master of crowd seduction.
Since a lot of Chet’s jams are perfect for reading, boning and 3AM contemplation, I wasn’t sure how they would translate live. Luckily, his charisma is just as apparent in headphones as it is on stage.
The crowd captivation started becoming full-blown with “I’m Into You,” a standout track from his first EP. Chet bounced around, punching his MPC feverishly while contorting his body like a question mark. Pinballing between making beats and playing the keys, he casually belted out, “I got a feeling we are gonna win/ our bodies make it perfect/ and your eyes can make me swim.” Needless to say, your girlfriend was impressed.
After a few older songs, he soon got into material from Built Like Glass, his proper debut that dropped last month. “1998” is a perfect example of his growth as a songwriter, and it translated well at the Dise: it starts quiet, almost with a kind of misdirection. The early moments sound Mount Kimbie-ish, with building samples that lead to a driving synth—and then there’s that voice.
The live version stuck pretty close to the script, but it was punctuated with flourishes—crashing sounds, ping-ponging drums, and other random noises—that made it resemble a remix.
Towards the end of the night, he gleefully busted out his blue-eyed soul cover of “No Diggity,” the song that got him started only a few years ago. The two tank top wearing bros in front of me who resembled the Winklevoss twins geeked out, as did the rest of the Dise. I can’t front—I was right there with them.
Chet was chatty throughout. The show was part of the Together festival, and he almost acted as a spokesman for the virtues of good electronic tunes. “I think it’s important to fuck up onstage, to play real instruments,” he said. This could have been a sound bite from a panel, but it was just Chet dropping Aussie wisdom.
This was more than just twisting nobs and pushing buttons. It was soul music, pure and simple.