"Talk Is Cheap ensures a lot of attendees will be getting laid tonight. These are aphrodisiac sounds."
The Bowl on a sunny spring evening? You really can't beat it. Cleopold brings sweet laidback vibes with a swaying groove. He's on Chet Faker's label, Detail Co, and there's a melancholy tone to Cleopold's voice that's not dissimilar to this evening's headline act. Love Like Mine is a Miami Horror song featuring Cleopold and even a couple of burly security guards you'd more easily imagine punching the air while listening to AC/DC are witnessed grooving to this one. Live instrumentation is king, cowbell could never be a bad garnish and this act should've sat higher up in tonight's line-up.
Imagine if Awesome Tapes From Africa were shit? They're not, though. Ethnomusicologist Brian Shimkovitz brings his esteemed Awesome Tapes From Africa blog (which grew into a record label) to our ears and after a clunky, low-volume start (an unavoidable hitch when playing cassettes?) we process undeniably danceable, samba-like bangers and ache to experience this in a club.
You can't ignore Silicon. A DJ wanders over to the turntables on stage wearing all black (except for white trainers). Doesn't sound so weird, right? Well, what about the sparkly black head covering and torches for eyes! There are vocals, but we can't see where they're coming from, so consider them pre-recorded. When the audience in front of us starts looking at a point beyond our heads, we turn around and see Silicon (aka New Zealand's Kody Neilson) meandering through the crowd. Then his DJ hops down to our level, takes a seat in the front row facing the stage and (hilariously) claps his decks. When said DJ follows a girl who's looking for her seat, she turns around and gets the fright of her life much to the delight of the crowd. One of the DJ's eyes/torches goes out then comes back on (sort of), only flashing. Neilson's vocals are smothered in effects and it's difficult to connect with him while he's roaming around. God Emoji is glorious, but the duo's antics are distracting and take away from Silicon's music. You could never accuse them of being boring, but maybe the middle of their set should settle in and be restricted to the stage.
Otologic's Tom Moore gets us prepped for the main event and does well to grab attention with some choice selections while everyone's chatting or grabbing drinks. Then on bounds Chet Faker (aka Nick Murphy). Where's the beard!? We almost don't recognise him, but he's looking great and we wonder whether his lookalikes among us will go home and reach for the razor. Murphy has some moves and certainly doesn't need to hide behind consoles - who knew? Extraordinary musicality is demonstrated through every accent and rhythmically captivating hand gesture. Melt oozes in at song two and it's an "O, O, Overdose" of endorphins. Four backing vocalists come out to join Murphy plus three-piece backing band. Murphy exudes onstage confidence these days. And he totally wins the award for 'Where the hell is that voice coming from?' since his image doesn't look a fraction as angelic as those pipes sound.
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Murphy sits down to play keys on a way-back track. "I'm in a pretty good mood," he admits. I'm Into You is breath taking ("Ah-De-De-De-De/Ah-De-De-De-De/De-De") and Murphy's pitch, effortless. His is a commanding presence up there even when solo onstage, shrouded by smoke. No Diggity gets us on our feet with Murphy admitting it's the song that "started it all" for him. His band returns to the stage for 1998. Gold is dedicated to Melbourne while also being the lighting hue of choice on the cyclorama. Result! Drop The Game (that Flume collab) follows and we all try to channel Storyboard P (the exquisite Brooklyn dancer from the tracks's accompanying music video). Simple cyc graphics and tracks of moving lights above the stage perfectly enhance, but never swamp, the action. Main set closer Cigarettes & Loneliness bends the vocal melody too much for this scribe's liking.
Murphy returns to kick off the encore solo on keys and plays a new song he says he probably won't release, but can't promise that. It's definitely crying out for release and what is he trying to say? Murphy has an ace stank face when he sings. Then on wanders a choir of nine plus two saxophonists for To Me. The penetrating dual sax appeal that opens closer Talk Is Cheap ensures a lot of attendees will be getting laid tonight. These are aphrodisiac sounds. And to rapturous applause Murphy departs the stage with a skip in is step.