Live Review: Chet Faker and I’lls’ at Toff In Town; 22/04/12

30 April 2012 | 12:37 pm | Anthony Rebela

The music does speak for itself... His groove/soul driven tunes no doubt promise a big future.

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A half empty Toff sees the punters assume the standard five-metre distance from the stage and when the velvet curtains are drawn, I'lls' (sounds like styles), look awkward. Using an ironing board as a stand for his Mac and drum sampler, lead singer Simon Lam's voice is ethereal and the young band proceed to take us on a trip Kid A-style with multi-layered loops and harmonies in perpetual motion. 

As the room begins to fill up for the sold-out show, we're touchily reminded that, despite the amazing location and superb intimacy of this iconic venue, The Toff can be tough for the vertically challenged. Preempting, we snake our way to the side of stage to better scope the band. Curtain drawn and with the stage set against a backdrop of Rorschach visuals, Melbourne muso Nick Murphy, aka Chet Faker, takes his place at his keyboard and Mac, and quickly slides into the sublime Moby-esque Cigarettes & Chocolate. The mixed bag crowd of trendites and Aussie hip hop fans loosen up with Terms & Conditions, then sing-a-long to the catchy I'm Into You. Love & Feeling is met with applause before Murphy, casually chatting to the crowd, introduces the last track from his EP: “It's kind of based around the idea of having first world problems… getting more stressed out when everything's going well rather than things not going well… Most people kind of spend half their life equipping themselves…” The explanation is almost as long as the song, which incidentally is Everything I Wanted. More chatting and intros for non-EP track Solo Sunrise before Murphy strangely leaves the stage thanking the crowd.

He returns alone and announces he's “not used to doing encores” and that “this song's a cover”, but it's not the one everyone is waiting for, instead it's a stark and moving version of Burial's Archangel. The next track is another cover but this time it's the hype makin' No Diggity cover. Its familiar opening riff ignites the fans and head-boppin' ensues. Murphy's voice is mature beyond his 23 years and his sound production is rich and slick, but the mystery and flow is lost when explaining the meaning behind his songs. Nevertheless the music does (excuse the pun) speak for itself. This guy wasn't at SxSW for no reason and his groove/soul driven tunes no doubt promise a big future.