Going to a Powfu show is a lot like hanging out with a childhood friend for the evening. For his first-ever tour following the TikTok-viral success of “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head),” the 23-year-old Canadian singer (real name Isaiah Faber) created a warm, welcoming environment for his group of devoted fans – not unlike the sense of comfort that his 2020 hit brought for millions of listeners during one of the most unpredictable periods of time in history.
You’d never think it was Faber’s first series of live gigs, given his impressive vocal ability throughout the robust 24-song set at Antone’s Nightclub in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday night (June 22). He also oozes natural onstage charisma, full of candid conversations with attendees in the front row and a dry sense of humor, balanced with raw moments of vulnerability.
“I really appreciate you coming out here. It means a lot to me,” he shared with the crowd before performing “I Could Never Be Loved,” which he revealed was one of the first songs he’d ever written. “When I wrote it, I was in a weird spot in life. I was working a part-time job, waking up, doing the same thing every day. I’d get home, I played video games, I was making music a little bit. I didn’t have a girlfriend. I didn’t even know what a relationship was like. I didn’t have any friends or hang out with anyone, and I just felt like I wasn’t doing anything with my life. I felt pretty lonely and sad, but I wanted to change that.”
“So, basically, I started reading, started trying to find new friends, I quit my job that I didn’t like, I found a new job. I started to change what my life was. I’m happy I did that, because a lot of good things came from it. I ended up finding a wife, I made a bunch of friends, I’m now touring the United States which is crazy,” he continued. “Most importantly, I’m feeling happier and I don’t feel alone. I know there’s situation you guys are in that you probably can’t change, or you feel like you’re stuck in and you might feel hopeless. If you keep your eyes open and you stay searching and stay patient, there will be doors that open. It’s going to be scary but change is what you need to do, right? If you don’t change, change isn’t going to happen. Be cautious, be ready and take that leap of faith.”
And like hanging out with a pal, between these heart-to-heart conversations is a whole lot of fun. While performing onstage in front of a series of anime-inspired onscreen visuals, rocking a Hunter X Hunter t-shirt, Faber chose fans from the crowd to take part in a nostalgic Beyblade competition. The chosen ones, two exhilarated teenagers named Danny and Austin, stood in the center of a fan-made circle in the crowd, crouching over a toy arena and each holding one of the early 2000’s-era spinning top toys. Isaiah’s music director and onstage instrumentalist Eric promptly began playing the theme song from the beloved Japanese television series as the crowd shouted out, “Let it rip!” After a quick but intense Beyblade battle, Danny came out victorious and Faber took the t-shirt off his back (literally) and threw it into the crowd for a lucky concertgoer to keep.
To wrap up the set, Faber performed fan-favorite track “Sleeping on the Floor” and, of course, “Death Bed,” his Beabadoobee-assisted hit that peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, skyrocketing Powfu from Abbotsford, Canada’s talented kid-next-door to certified rock star.
Despite that newfound star status, Faber is really still his fans’ best friend. After the show, the entire venue of supporters — some of whom drove more than six hours to see the set — stood in line to meet the artist, who spoke at length with each individual attendee alongside show openers Ouse and Snøw, taking selfies and earnestly expressing his appreciation for every single person who came out to see him. Faber’s devotion to kindness and humility allows his star power to extend beyond his art, leaving us wanting to hang out with him again and again in the years to come.
See Powfu’s entire setlist below, which included the Travis Barker collaboration “Mario Kart” and the love song “A Castle by the Sea” dedicated to his wife Tashi, plus a cover of Plain White T’s 2006 hit, “Hey There Delilah.”
I Can’t Sleep
The Way That You See Me
I Could Never Be Loved
Days We Had
Too Many Problems
Breakups Suck Ass
Hey There Delilah (Plain White T’s Cover)
A Castle By the Sea
The Fire in Your Eyes
Laying on My Porch
I’ll Come Back to You
Would Look Perfect
I’m Used to It
Dead Eyes (with Ouse)
Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head)
Sleeping On the Floor