Live Review: Chet Faker @ Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane

16 October 2023 | 12:07 pm | Ray Shindo

Chet Faker's rebirth is etched in our souls like a secret melody, a whispered promise that his music will endure.

Chet Faker

Chet Faker (Source: Supplied)

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Amidst the sapphire expanse, a quirky pink loofa-like presence captivates the audience. Elizabeth’s falsetto pierces the night, her airy vocals cradling us like a comforting lullaby. Even as the drums attempt to seize the spotlight every now and then, she holds her ground with her unwavering charisma.

Under the gentle backlights that meld with the dreamy atmosphere, the Brisbane-based artist exudes an aura of serenity-veiled pain. The audience remains silent yet profoundly absorbed, seeking to decipher her somewhat enigmatic style of singing. While her vocals occasionally appear at odds with the instrumentation, emotionally charged moments like Parties and Love Is The Easiest Salvation whisks us away to an enchanted realm out of a realistic fairytale. 

Her magnetic charm and its seamless integration with the music leave the audience craving for more of her mesmerizing melodies.

As our phones read 22:00, the backdrop buzzes with streaks of grey and white interference. ‘Music does something…’ it reads, prompting the opening track of his 2021 album Hotel Surrender, as Chet Faker sets foot upon the stage. 

The mastermind curates a chaotic mix of raging sounds before immersing himself in his keyboard. Oh Me Oh My lures us into the urban streets and charisma of New York, the jazzy tones igniting a slow burn that pulls us into the depths of the musical abyss. The lyric, "I'll sleep when I die", echoes through the crowd, a mantra that gradually seeps into the collective psyche of the audience.

A fusion of soul and electronica permeates the air with 1998, tinged with hints of early house and future beats. It envelops the room in a contagious feel-good aura, drawing every soul deeper into the Chet Faker experience. The mood remains charged as he transitions into Feel Good.

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He wields his guitar in Whatever Tomorrow, as he emerges through a seductive crimson haze, the gospel-inspired organs and analog synthesizers striking a delicate balance. The track radiates comforting warmth, yet the live rendition takes on a slightly distorted shape, with a more defined bass and drums, sacrificing some of its melodic charm. Yet, beneath the surface, it retains a crisp edge that evokes a rebellious desire to live in the present moment, forsaking the wait for tomorrow. 

“I wanna see you move around a little bit; we’re gonna dance first,” he teases the crowd before launching into back-to-back renditions from his EP with London-based DJ Marcus Marr. The electro-soul party track The Trouble With Us is followed by the infectious bass line of Birthday Card.

A familiar hook from his early EP rings through the venue as he recreates the experimental instrumental Cigarettes And Chocolate, like a spark of nostalgia before the venue plunges into darkness. Inviting guitar strums fill the air as the audience is dipped into a golden ocean on a summer evening with It Could Be Nice

“Brissy, you’ve always got the energy,” the Melbourne-based artist laughs. “You might know this tune,” he teases as the audience eagerly anticipates Drop The Game. “Turn it up,” he urges, and the crowd continues to belt out the vocal hook. 

Get High unfolds over the echo of programmed strings, which came alive with a skilful fusion of mesmerising piano melodies, consistent rhythms, and lively samples. The music celebrates with a playful, rustic charm, exuding unwavering confidence while guiding us through the soulful depths of Chet Faker's musical palette, each note flavoured with jazz. 

His seamless transition into his cover of No Diggity elicits a cathartic roar from the crowd. The track that catapulted his career remains timeless, as he brilliantly infuses the familiar with a unique touch. He basks under a pale, smokey beige spotlight, transporting back to the beginnings of his artistic creation.

A solo piano performance transforms the venue into a jazz bar as he dives into I Must Be Stupid. He carries us into emotional waters with its warped samples, trippy synths, and twangy guitars. The sombre nature of the track beautifully juxtaposes the energy that surrounds it. As if to resurface after a deep dive, Down To Earth fills the venue, like gentle hands cupping our spirits.

A surreal moment envelops the venue in his live rendition of It's Not You. As the backdrop fades into obscurity, Chet Faker is left bathed in a melancholic spotlight while he delivers the line, ‘It’s not you.’  His vocals exude a desolate weight, evoking a bittersweetness that feels effortlessly surreal. The air grows heavy with emotion, gently drawing out our innermost feelings without becoming overwhelming.

The warmth dissipates as the lively beats of his newest single, Something Like This, saturates the air. His popular track Gold from his 2014 album Built On Glass follows with a certain punch to the live rendition, making it even more enthralling.

A thunderous encore erupts as his exit leaves an unimaginable void. Without a beat, he reemerges, responding to the clamour with I'm Into You from his debut EP, transformed into a refreshing acoustic solo piano set. The night peaks with the irresistible allure of Talk Is Cheap. The initial saxophone notes put the audience in a trance, while his mellow piano playing serves as a perfect conclusion to an evening brimmed with sonic marvels, leaving the audience wanting nothing more.

The night gracefully winds down as he plays the crowd out with Low. His rebirth is etched in our souls like a secret melody, a whispered promise that his music will endure.