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Nahko Bear, or simply known as Nahko, wrapped up his Trenches Tour with Nattali Rize in Las Vegas. The venue in Area 15 is a small, intimate room called The Wall. Named for its large LED video wall set behind the raised stage, The Wall holds about 200 people and this show was sold out well in advance. Personally, I enjoy small intimate settings, and even more so, acoustic sessions. Reminiscent to MTV’s heyday of Unplugged, the songs take differently as if they are inviting the audience to experience the depth of emotion played with every chord and note.

Opening up the show, Nattali Rize provided a nine-song solo acoustic set that gave the audience an up close and personal experience during her hour-long performance. The stripped-down arrangements showcased her musical prowess, allowing the lyrics to resonate with the audience. Just her and an acoustic guitar.

Nattali opened up her set with “Warriors”, a song that’s really taken off on the Sugarshack Sessions with almost five million views. This song got the audience going as I watched everyone in the front row sing along and move to the rhythm. In between songs, she would thank the audience and share encouraging words of positivity. Not to the point of preaching, but just enough to get the crowd’s approval before starting another song.

Her setlist included some fan favorites like "Rebel Frequency", "Liberate", and "Indestructible". She closed her set with one of her biggest hits and my favorite, “One People”. The extended song included crowd participation with her pausing her guitar playing volleying back and forth with the audience finishing her lines. Like all of her songs, one can really get into the lyrics of this song and her songwriting skills really come out on this one. After her set, she joined the audience an  danced with them as the house music played Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved”. This kind of interaction drives fan appreciation home for some people. It’s not often that one can sing and dance with one of their favorite artists.

A short break allowed the audience to absorb the vibes that come naturally with Nattali’s performances and prepare for the headliner. As the lights dimmed and a subtle haze filled the room, Nahko took the stage and was welcomed by the 200 screaming fans. His acoustic set consisted of him switching back and forth between an acoustic guitar and a keyboard. It’s always a welcome sight when you can see the audience singing along with the artist.

Nahko’s musical genre is a mixed bag consisting of folk, alternative, and R&B. His songwriting sends deep messages that are sometimes sprinkled with a few vulgarities but they seem to work well to drive the songs home. With songs like “Enough” and “Ok”, these songs are almost inspirational with messages of hope and self awareness. At times, you feel like you’re listening to a Sunday service with Nahko’s performance. Take the song “Creator’s Hands” as he delivers a heartfelt performance, one would expect the crowd to say Amen at the end.

In between songs, he would share one-liners to assist with his transitions. Although small stages and acoustic sets don’t allow much room for dynamic performances, he did not disappoint as he did not need any theatrics. The simplicity of the acoustic set is entertaining enough. Nahko’s music hits deep on many levels with motivational messages and hints of spirituality, advocacy, and activism. But behind these messages, there is genuinely good music. His musicianship and songwriting skills takes you on an emotional journey deep into your self-conscience leaving you inspired to be a better person.

As the night drew to a close, Nahko took the stage, inviting Nattali Rize to join him for a few songs. With Nahko skillfully playing the guitar, Nattali complemented the performance with her captivating vocals, creating a remarkable synergy. The seamless collaboration left me wondering why these two artists haven't recorded a song together. Both Nahko and Nattali convey messages through their music that uplift and heal. The culmination of over two hours of music left the audience visibly satisfied and infused with a renewed sense of hope. While Sunday service may have concluded, the enduring impact of their message and music continues to resonate.

Mario Supnet

Photojournalist - Las Vegas

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