Nick Murphy medicates D.C. with soulful set
Updated: Aug 15, 2019
Nick Murphy is not Chet Faker. Well, he is, or at least he’s formerly known as Chet Faker, but he is much more than the man behind the glitchy “No Diggity” cover that helped turn his music from hobby to career. Nick Murphy is a craftsman, using his many tools of the trade to create melodies that vary from dancy electro-pop to stripped-down ballad to discordant rock-and-roll. Nick Murphy is a producer behind a hell of a musical ride, and it’s a ride that he fully submits himself to, as shown through his hypnotic DC set Wednesday night.
Murphy’s latest album, “Run Fast Sleep Naked,” took over 9:30 Club on July 10, and its performance was a testament to Murphy’s undeniable talents that have allowed him to gracefully evolve from Chet to Nick.
After releasing an EP under his own name in 2017, Murphy dropped “Run Fast” this April—his first full album since his Chet days. And while Murphy still gifted the crowd with old hits like “Gold” and “Talk is Cheap,” his new tracks were even more electric, drowning out any yearnings for the past and replacing them with excitement for the future.
The Australian did it all—rallying the crowd with rhythmic funk and serving as harmony to his saxophone player’s solo, jamming on the piano before bouncing over to other obscure instruments tucked around the stage, gently crooning into the mic while staring into the light show like he could see another universe. Murphy poured himself into his music all night, frequently returning to the piano as if he were worshiping the keys and taking 9:30 Club to church with him.
Maybe the best part of Murphy’s stage presence is that he seems as if he feels every single note and every single beat. And he doesn’t just feel them as light brushes against his skin—he feeds off of them to his core, straight into his bloodstream, straight down to his soul. As he sat back at the piano for “Dangerous,” it was as if the piano was playing Murphy and not the other way around. The music clearly had control over him, which made his performance all the more engaging.
Murphy’s versatility puts him into his own sound category. “Yeah I Care” offered hints of The Black Keys’ synthy rock tracks, while “Believe Me,” which Murphy called his personal favorite from the new album, hit like a David Gray melody with its techy ending stripped away. But the Australian’s ability to fluctuate between his different sounds and styles and instruments and musical interests is what makes him unique, and “Run Fast Sleep Naked” is a neatly-packed sampling of that variety.
After bopping to “Novacaine and Coca Cola,” an homage to all of the shit we put in our bodies, Murphy transitioned into 2017 single “Medication,” tying a bow around his energizing set. As he prepared to head off stage before returning for an encore, Murphy belted “I’m the medication, and you can be the patient,” perfectly summing up his effect on the captivated crowd all evening. If your soul needs satisfying, if your ears need stimulating, if your eyes need enchanting, Nick Murphy is your medication.
Hear it Now
Harry Takes Drugs on the Weekend
The Trouble With Us
Yeah I Care
Talk Is Cheap
Novacaine and Coca Cola
Believe Me / Sanity
Reviewed by Kayla Wilkinson, photos by Xavier Dussaq.