Live Review: Chet Faker – Colston Hall, Bristol


Chet Faker’s career has been one of constant battle with definitions; does he make jazz, soul, house, hip-hop… Is he where he wants to be? Minutes into his live show, as Faker dances around the array of equipment surrounding him, a wry smile on his face, it becomes abundantly clear that he has no interest in being categorised. He’s perfectly happy to just make music he thinks sound good, and it does.

Faker chops and changes, splicing delicate harmonies into jarring, house-esque crescendos creating a set with a level of coherence and direction that makes perfect sense of a debut album that wasn’t quite a flowing piece. ‘Built on Glass’ is undoubtedly an impressive debut from the Australian but it seemed there was something missing, it didn’t quite come together as a whole record. Faker’s endless improvisation and innovation in a live setup immediately makes it very clear that this is no accident; the album is designed to be remixed and reworked in a live setting that seems almost synonymous with a DJ set. Faker is just as at home in Colsten Hall’s elegant and cavernous Lantern as he would be in a sweaty basement playing to bunch of pilled up pseudo-ravers. Every now and then, however, Faker wipes his brow, takes a seat at his keys and showcases the softer side of his range. Tracks such as ‘Blush’ and a succinct version of latest single ‘Talk is Cheap’  show strained, powerful vocals interspersed with carefully planned silences and quickly shift the mood from energetic movement to silent awe.

As well as new material, and at times euphoric sampling improvisations that weren’t Faker tracks at all, the small collective of screaming fans were of course treated to a few oldies from the EP, ‘Thinking In Textures’, that brought this mad musical misfit into our lives two years ago.

Overall, Chet Faker live is a unique experience. Probably as a result of the fact that he’s never been interfered with, everything from writing to production is his own. Reaching relative fame from the hard graft of HypeMachine and Soundcloud, Faker has had nothing handed to him and little assistance, a quality he makes very clear in the way he controls the show and clearly loves every second. Chet Faker is just a man doing his thing, and doing it well.