Oh, to be young. Or rather, oh to be a good five years older than everyone in attendance at Nick Murphy’s (Chet Faker) headlining show at The Shrine. Located but a stone’s throw from USC, the crowd was mostly filled with sleep deprived, fake-ID toting college students looking for yet another excuse to distract themselves from schoolwork.
The who’s who of CHEM 303, ECON 105 and everyone’s least favorite fraternity poured into the venue slowly throughout the opening sets. Unfortunately for those enjoying elbow room during Washed Out’s extra wavy show, everything was about to change. By the time Murphy stepped foot on stage, the hardwood floor at the Shrine was nothing more than a beer-soaked wasteland littered with trendy Adidas sneakers and beat up Chuck Taylors.
A fairly soft-spoken performer, Murphy didn’t give LA much more than a “hello” before setting off on his set. As an odd twist, he decided to begin the evening with “Gold,” easily his most popular hit to date. Not that he couldn’t keep up momentum for the remaining hour and a half, but “Gold” is such a crowd pleaser one would expect it to come towards the end or act as an encore. This, however, is not Murphy’s first rodeo. The Australian-born artist energized the crowd with his opening song and then continued through his set, staggering newer and older songs.
The new Nick Murphy is decidedly grittier than his old alter ego persona, Chet Faker, but the crowd seemed into the tunes all the same. Fans weren’t necessarily singing along to songs like “I’m Ready” or “Weak Education” but the instrumentation with thumping bass drums, shredding guitars and Murphy’s rock star antics gave them something to enjoy.
For the remainder of the set, Murphy and his four bandmates kept the same formula of Chet Faker song and then Nick Murphy song. Each time a track like “Trouble with Me” or “To Me” came on, the crowd went absolutely bonkers, singing, shouting and acting as rambunctious as any college student could act. When songs like “Melt” or “Fear Less” came on after or in between, the crowd was so energized by the previous track; the dance carried too much momentum to stop. Towards the end of the set, Murphy and crew became more rambunctious as well. Songs like “Forget About Me” or “Cigarettes and Loneliness” were given wild and elongated solos for everyone in the band, making the show feel much more like a live experience than a rehash of his records.
The evening came to a crescendo when Murphy transitioned out of “Cigarettes and Loneliness” and into “To Me.” Towards the end of “Cigarettes and Loneliness,” Murphy kicked over his electronic keyboard before settling down at his piano. From there, the rest of the band toned the music down and the lights shut off to shine only a single spotlight on Murphy and his instrument. Finally, the band brought in just a taste of the opening saxophone line from “To Me,” at which point every fan in attendance immediately recognized the tune and began shouting and dancing wildly.
After closing out with “Fear Less,” the band came back for a quick two-song encore which included “Believe Me” a brand new song that is, as of yet, unrecorded. The beautiful ballad put Murphy again in the spotlight relying only on piano and some muted drums. He then tore into “Medication” to give fans a positive and upbeat note to head home on. Without a doubt, many USC students will be missing class after a show like that, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a single Trojan who regretted their evening.
- I’m Ready
- Weak Education
- Trouble With Us
- No Reason
- To Me
- Forget About Me
- Cigarettes and Loneliness
- Talk is Cheap
- Fear Less
- Believe Me
File Photo: Kalyn Oyer