K-rock band N.Flying spread their wings to meet their fans, N.Fia (short for N.Flying’s Utopia), across the globe on their six-stop DWUW: Do What You Want U.S. tour, visiting New York, Chicago, San Juan, and more cities before performing their last show in the Los Angeles area at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The five-piece band, made up of Seung Hyub (vocals, rap, rhythm guitar), Cha Hun (guitar), Jae Hyun (drums), Hwe Seung (vocals), and Dong Sung (bass), joins a long list of artists to have performed at the esteemed venue, following in the footsteps of legendary musicians like Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more.
As the lights dimmed, the lyrics “Stand up, stand up, everybody wake up” from the song “R U Ready?” streamed through the speakers and swept the crowd out of their seats, amping up the cheers and excitement even before the band set foot on stage. And when they did, the fervor only intensified, turbocharged by the bass drum beat and reaching a peak during the extended instrumental intro of the opening song, “Chance.” The cinematic video game OST shares a message of finding a glimmer of hope in times of darkness, and tonight, N.Fia are the band’s beacon of hope, their adorable, potato-themed lightsticks lighting up the auditorium. Hwe Seung and Seung Hyub showcased their powerful vocals and rap, which stayed stable even when they started jumping around the stage in “Monster,” a pop rock track with a soaring hook.
During a talking segment, the band shared how happy they were to be back as it had been almost four years since their 2019 KCON performance. They also took a moment to acknowledge the tragedy in Monterey Park that occurred just days prior to the show, where 11 individuals were killed in a mass shooting event. In light of events like these, N.Flying promised to do what they do best–share music that comforts and uplifts us all. Cha Hun admitted that he “feels broken because of the turnout today,” but that it’s all the more reason for him, and the whole band, to go all out.
Many of N.Flying’s songs combine the momentum of rock with the catchiness of pop, and on top of it all is a generous heap of feel-good vibes (yes, that’s the technical term). They have the type of songs that make you want to sing at the top of your lungs, and the extra infectious energy that the band gave off rendered that urge irresistible. Singing along was very much encouraged, and the band even took extra time between songs to practice fan chants with the audience. Seung Hyub was in charge of these mini tutorials, and, to the amusement of the fans, even spelled out “폭망” as “p-o-k m-a-n-g” for the fanchant to “I Like You.” After a successful practice session, N.Fia chanted their parts perfectly, garnering the band’s praise for their Korean pronunciation.
Their mid tempo songs “Autumn Dream” and “Fate” were more laid-back (but no less catchy) and gave both the audience and the band a chance to catch their breaths before transitioning into their grungier, hype songs that put their hip-hop style (and rap skills) on full display. “I think you’ll like these next songs the most,” predicted Seung-Hyub, and sure enough, “Pardon?” and “Hot Potato” were two of the most energetic and fun songs of the set. All four members on the lower level were prancing around the stage, gathering first on the right side, then making their way over to greet the left. They were having a blast onstage interacting with each other–fans were delighted to see cute moments between the instrumental members, and their enthusiastic energy seemed limitless.
Keeping the momentum going, they (and their fans) were jumping along to the beat in “Hot Potato” until, suddenly, the band stopped playing and everyone in the venue froze. A couple cheers piercing through the silence notwithstanding, the extended pause was a surreal experience, giving concertgoers the sense that time had stopped and reminded them to revel in this moment. The band resumed playing as if nothing happened, but, alas, after Jae Hyun’s electrifying drum solo, the band announced, “the Hot Potato Challenge… failed. But! We can have a redo!” On the second redo, the crowd was able to maintain the silence for an impressive duration, broken only by a brave soul who made a bird-like whistle sound that sent the band and rest of the audience into a hearty laughter. Additional highlights included Cha Hun and Jae Hyun’s virtuosic solos in “Say Goodbye” and “Video Therapy,” respectively, and Seung Hyub’s piano miming in “Awesome,” a dark, carnival-esque song that was one of the most unique numbers in the set.
Throughout the whole show, but especially in the last set of anthemic songs like “Just One Day” and “Fall With You”, the band made sure to interact with the fans by demonstrating the fan chants and taking selfies with fans’ phones, even accepting a potato on a stick from an N.Fia, a throwback to their makeshift lightstick days. For their encore, N.Flying returned onstage in black tour t-shirts to perform their most well-known song, “Rooftop,” which had the audience singing their hearts out to all the lyrics, even the rap parts. “When I looked at the audience, the reflection of the lightsticks made your eyes sparkle like stars,” Jae Hyun beamed, referencing the lyrics to “Rooftop.” Dong Sung shared that he felt the concert was “like a dream that he never wanted to wake up from,” and many fans likely felt the same way. After assuring N.Fia that they will come back for a future concert, the band closed out the night with a last fan chant tutorial and their feel-good track, “The Real.”
Overall, their setlist was very well organized and moved the show along distinct moods. If only they included “Moonshot,” the setlist would have been absolutely perfect. For Cha Hun and Jae Hyun, this evening was especially bittersweet as it was their last overseas tour show before they enlist for mandatory military service. Nevertheless, the band’s boundless energy and audience engagement made sure it was an unforgettable night for N.Fias, who will be waiting eagerly for the group to make good on their promises to return.
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