By Sindoos Awel
Many do not end their high school career with a record deal with a label company, but Khalid did that without even releasing an EP. His talent was recognized early after his notable release of “Location,” which made its way in Kylie Jenner’s SnapChat story and received multiple other positive acknowledgements from celebrities. After listening to “Location” for the first time, I closely followed Khalid on multiple social media platforms awaiting his next release and I was not disappointed. His next official release, “Let’s Go”, left me impatient to see his live show in January. I was slightly skeptical of seeing him live, knowing that this was his first tour and he had and only 6 singles released, making me believe that having a concert without a full album out was very premature. However, positive raves from previous concertgoers convinced me to give him a chance.
I arrived after the opener and found a snug spot in the middle of crowd at the Loft, a nice and intimate venue. There was a very calm ambience in the room, with no aggressive shoving or use of elbows to get a better view, which was a nice change.
Khalid began with a small narrative that filled the dark room, describing his experience of moving to El Paso, Texas and how it led to his successful career in music. As soon as the story ended, his highly anticipated entrance occurred, but with humility, there were no grand light theatrics, but the crowd erupted into cheers as the instrumentals segued into his first track “Let’s Go.” The crowd swayed along with the instruments as some brave souls belted out the lyrics (I was one of them); the mellow climate stayed consistent throughout the rest of the concert. Khalid’s humility was evident in constant interactions with his audience and his offer to stay after his show to take pictures and meet every fan that was willing to wait. His young, innocent energy emitted from his carefree dance moves throughout song interludes. As for his vocals, studio recordings did him no justice; he was undoubtedly a better vocalist live.
For someone who had joined the music industry recently, his performance had no awkward instances as he naturally commanded the stage. Although, “Location” was his most popular song, it was not his most notable performance. In my opinion, “Coaster” was rave-worthy. Before beginning the song, he gave special shout out to his ex-girlfriend, giving the backstory to the track. Another highlight was an all too familiar cover of “Lost” by Frank Ocean, which seemed to match Khalid’s style of melancholic, introspective songs. He also surprised the audience by debuting a new track from the upcoming album called “Young, Dumb, and Broke,” which had the audience mumbling the last couple chorus as they instantly fell in love with the track. As someone who usually likes to listen to new tracks in a controlled setting with the luxury of being able to replay the track as I pleased, I genuinely enjoyed this new situation. It gave fresh insight on album being released in March, which then left fans eagerly waiting for more tracks.
By the end of the concert, the entire crowd was completely entranced by the Khalid’s velvety vocals and keen personality. Although this was his first performance in Atlanta, he had developed a strong fan base that will most likely return to see him perform when he returns. Among many fans, I will continue to wait anxiously for Khalid’s first full album that past releases and live performances indicate will be well worth the wait.