NF (Nathan Feuerstein) is an artist I’ve wanted to see live for quite some time. So when he announced NZ + Australia dates I knew I had to go. Though I didn’t buy a ticket until the night before his first show. NF had 2 shows in Auckland as his 1st show sold out within minutes. Now you’ve probably thinking because I’m a fan this review may be biased, it’s not. This is 100% honest I promise.
I arrived to The Powerstation around 3pm. I decided to line up early in hopes of getting to the front. As I arrived, 3 people were already there and it continued to grow from 5pm. There was VIP Early Entry which I personally thought was a waste of money as the laminate only had an image on one side and the poster was only A4 which you could have got printed yourself. Double the price but I guess if you wanted a guaranteed spot in the front it’s worth it.
They got in before we did but when we finally got in I ran around the bar straight to the end of the runway. I managed to get right in the front and it really was the perfect spot. The small runway had no barrier which made it feel more intimate.
Then the wait began for the opening act. But the wait was really entertaining in itself as not only did everyone get to know the people next to them but black balloons provided a lot of entertainment. People had come dressed as NF in The Search with the all black clothes, black face paint and black balloons. However clearly the balloons were a no no as security got the guys to hand them over and preceded to pop them. The crowd let out a large boo as he did so. Others who were clearly made aware about the no balloons policy decided to set their’s free and it became a fun game for the crowd. But a member of the crowd decided to do what security did and pop them as he got them. The crowd reaction to the whole thing whether it was cheers, boos or even sound effects to hitting the balloons, was amazing.
As it hit 9pm Dylan Joel took the stage. Dylan is from Melbourne and was the opening act on NF’s whole AU/NZ run. I have seen Dylan before in Auckland as he opened for Ruel at The Tuning Fork in 2018. But I hadn’t really kept track of his music since then. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. When I last saw him it was an acoustic guitar and some great vocals. But Dylan seems to be rapping now and honestly he does it well. The great vocals I mentioned are still there as he jumps between & blends the 2 in his music. He showcased his vocals more in the performance of his newly-released track ‘Snow’. Before he performed it he let everyone know that if you are going through something that “it’s okay, we’re all family and we’re all together in this shit”. He didn’t have much stage to work with and had his drummer Nathan Wilson on one side, so I can’t really comment too much on his stage presence. But he did make that bit of stage work by using that full space and he even jumped into the pit to get closer to the fans on both sides of the runway. He was a great opening act for NF and got everyone hyped for his set. Dylan seems to have developed so much since I last saw him and it was a great to see.
The drum kit, microphones etc were cleared offstage and us on the runway got a briefing to keep the runway clear and to not touch NF. An intro of bass and what sounded like how ‘The Search’ starts, played while they got the stage ready and then eventually it all just went black.
‘The Search’ began to play out as a silhouette of NF and the cage danced across the curtain that covered the stage. Just before the drop comes in, in the track, the curtain dropped and NF comes bounding down the runway and dove straight back into it. The energy level rose so quickly and the crowd was just crazy.
The stage was set with the cage we all know from Perception on the right, his drummer Rhett Noland on the left with a large screen of visuals behind and a set of black balloons either side of the stage. The screen played a range of different visuals from a silhouette of black balloons, to static colours and music videos.
With some rappers, what generally worries me, is the amount of backing track. We heard them testing it while waiting in line and though he does use it, it is quite minimal. I noticed it was mainly the choruses and little ad-lib/hype moments. A lot of it was him and that was honestly incredible to see. The way he performed with all that energy was crazy. But you had to also appreciate when he did songs like ‘Nate’ where 2 chairs were set up and he sat in one as like a way of conversing to himself. At one point he even got off the chair and sat between the 2. It felt like there was a lot of emotion and though put into how this was all depicted and the emotions it represents. Another thing I noticed about his performance was that he closed his eyes a lot. I don’t know if that’s a comfort thing for him or just what he likes to do.
When he used the cage, he paced inside and then just hung out the door and eventually even climbed it. The roof at The Powerstation isn’t that high so NF was literally jumping by and sitting under the lighting rigs. It was insane but really bought those particular tracks to life in some ways and showed it really wasn’t just “a cage”. Though it wouldn’t be a tour for The Search if he didn’t bring out the trolley with the balloons attached. I was aware though that there should have been a swing set as well, due to photos & videos from Australia, but the venue is just really too small. Instead NF just held onto and paced with the trolley, ending the track by pushing it off the stage completely.
I love that NF let his drummer Rhett have a moment, as he smashed out a drum solo after they performed ‘Outcast’. Rhett is a great drummer. You could see the energy and his facials really showed he played as a performance but also with a passion. Side note: He also has his own music and writes incredible poetry.
NF seemed to pump out track after track. But he did stop to chat in-between a couple of tracks saying how crazy it all was and also touching on how he had been here before. But the funniest moment was when he mentioned Lord of The Rings. Then he called himself out because he obviously knew it is probably something that happens frequently for us, which it is. However he just couldn’t end it that way, getting the crowd to shout “Baggins!” after he said “Frodo”. He then told the crowd “don’t ever do that again”. It was nice to see a smile on his face. Not to say it’s super rare but it is a special little moment with him it seems. I also wish he still performed some of his older tracks but I also understand why he doesn’t.
Overall the show really was incredible and the crowd were so loud to bring him back on stage for the encore – ‘WHY’. The energy from him and the crowd was amazing but that also meant it was quite the hot and sweaty show. Even NF acknowledged the heat asking if we were all hot and then said to “join the club”. I didn’t really notice it much, unless there were decent pauses, due the energy and pace of the show.
If you like a couple of songs or have just been on the fence about seeing him perform I highly recommend it. The pure energy, the visuals and his vocal delivery are all just so well done and really make for a great show!
Leave Me Alone
Fame CALL 1
If You Want Love
Let You Down
Fame CALL 2
When I Grow Up