After a summer full of cancellations by many international musicians scheduled to appear in Israel, Chet Faker, the emerging Australian electronic artist who has conquered the independent music scene with his subtle beats, soulful voice, and charming beard, played two sold-out concerts at Tel Aviv's the Barby on Thursday and Friday night.
Faker's Tel Aviv show on Thursday night lasted a little over an hour as he performed fan favorites "I'm Into You," with the crowd singing along to each word, as well as "Cigerattes and Chocolate," and "No Diggity" from his EP Thinking in Textures (2012).
He also played "Drop the Game," a collaboration with electronic artist Flume, and "Talk is Cheap" - both tracks off of his debut album Built on Glass, released last April by Future Classic/Downtown.
The audience was comprised of Tel Aviv's electronic music scene's familiar faces but also included young teenage girls and couples on dates who seemed to be hearing some of the songs for the first time, which could be a result of Faker's recent rise to mainstream fame attracting an unintended audience.
Faker used the stage not only to perform his songs, but also as an opportunity to express his opinions on the music industry and new technology.
He vocalized his criticism of DJ's who do not play electronic instruments live and "just hit play" and told the audience that sometimes great work can be made by "fucking up" while playing live, which led Faker to play an unreleased track that he has recently been working on.
"The only place this song exists is here and now," he said.
He mentioned that he had worked a job with "shitty hours" so that he could pay for his own studio time and not have to "sign his soul away to some guy wearing a suit," thanking the audience for supporting him as an independent artist by buying his record.
Faker voiced his concerns about the use of phones to record video and take pictures during a concert. At one point, he went into a short speech about how people these days tend to live their lives through a screen and asked his fans to put their phones away for his performance of "No Diggity."
"Let's see if we can still listen to music as a society and still be in the moment," he said.
Many fans probably wanted to thank Faker for the request, as a man with the new Iphone 6 Plus blocked the view of the people behind him as he recorded the show on his phone.
He told the crowd that they had his permission to whip to the ground any phone in sight during the song.
While the use of phones to take pictures and record video at concerts can get excessive, Faker can attest a portion of his success to the easy accessibity and distribution that new technology and social media allow.
In fact, Faker is especially approachable and active in the world of social media.
A quick glance at his Twitter feed shows Faker responding to tweets from his fans on a daily basis, even those who ask him how his day is going, amid re-Tweets of pictures that especially loyal fans have shared of cakes and cookies they have made for the Australian artist.
Compared to many performers who keep their crowds waiting and keep interaction minimal, Faker seemed genuinely invested in each song and his connection with the crowd.
His humility and easy-going persona were felt through out the show up until the end when he thanked the crowd several times, who continued clapping after his encore, hoping that maybe he would come out for just one more song.
Faker, born Nicolas James Murphy, chose his stage name as an ironic homage to the famous Jazz musician Chet Baker.
His success began with a cover of Blackstreet's "No Diggity" in 2011, which went viral on YouTube, and in 2012 he signed with the US label Downtown Records and released his first EP Thinking In Textures from which "I'm Into You" became a success.
Thinking In Textures won Best Independent Single/EP at the Australian Independent Records Awards, along with Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2012. His debut album Built On Glass was released in April 2014 by Future Classic/Downtown.