By: Corey McComb
Chet Faker sits down behind the piano and the Observatory turns into a dimly lit, afterparty bedroom. Here he is – making eyes at your girl and holding a microphone like a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Crooning soft spoken sex, “I can barley hold my tongue/ the shit we do could warm the sun.”
This happens soon after he and his gang of thieves swaggered out to perform full-band renditions of “Bend” and “Melt”. It’s a festival sized performance folded into a lounge love letter that has cameras flashing and our leading man pacing nervous struts across the stage.
Chet Faker (an homage to jazz legend Chet Baker) has had an amazing three years. 2013’s Thinking in Textures and 2014’s Built on Glass has earned the Australian native multiple ARIA awards and attracted collaborations with Banks and Flume. Though launching his career with a Blackstreet cover song, it’s his own brand of speakeasy serenades that has the crowd panting tonight.
Faker and the band deliver a perfect storm of bass, drums, and wattage. We happily let them control the pace. High energy numbers like “Gold” swing us up before the digital lullaby “1998” lays us back down. Marcus Marr, the collaborator on this year’s Work EP, joined Faker onstage and plucked out the folky-funk guitar on “The Trouble with Us”.
Faker flashes a mumbled Australian accent and layers start coming off in the crowd.
“This next one is for the lovers”.
He announces the next song is a cover and hips sway before the music starts. The band leaves and we’re alone with him. Alone in the bedroom. Just a black jacket in front of satan-red lights, manning his wattage and producing panic. “I like the way you work it / No Diggity”.
The night is crowned with a two song encore. “To Me” is played and the stage goes dark until a smoky light reveals Chet on a riser above the drumset, sitting where it all began- behind a piano. The romantic hour is coming to an end, but before tucking us in, he pours a nightcap with crowd favorite “Talk is Cheap”.
The house lights flicker on and everyone is holding their lover just a little bit tighter.
Photos by: Rachel Frank