We Can Survive at the Hollywood Bowl

Each year during mid-October, radio station 97.1 Amp Radio hosts a benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

They collect donations and $2 from each ticket sold benefits the Young Survival Coalition, which is an organization that supports young women diagnosed with breast cancer. This year was the Sixth Annual “We Can Survive” concert with performances by Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Ella Mai, G-Eazy, Khalid, Marshmello, Meghan Trainor, NF and Tyga.

     

        

The concert lasted approximately four and a half hours, with nine artists scheduled to perform. Altogether, the performers spanned multiple genres of music, including rap, pop, R&B, EDM, and more. Instead of focusing on the artists individually, I want to tell you more about the experience of sitting front row at such a large venue.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend this amazing concert four years in a row, and the past three times I’ve won upfront seats on the radio. The first year I won, I had third row seats and access to a private pre-show to watch the radio station interview the artists. Last year, I had front row seats and got to meet Harry Styles. This year, I had first row seats, which situated me in front of the barricade, where I could physically touch the stage and reach all the artists. And let me tell you – once you’re front row – you really can’t go back. But regardless of where you’re seated, this remains one of the very best concerts of the year. Even experiencing the concert from the back-most row is worth it, as you’re still able to witness all these extremely talented artists.

Meeting Bebe Rexha at the 2016 We Can Survive Pre-Party

 

Meet and Greet with Harry Styles at We Can Survive 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While sitting front row at a concert, you get a completely different experience; You get the chance to personally interact with your favorite artists, including making eye contact, or even being serenaded to. And if you’re lucky enough, you can even catch a guitar stick from Brad Paisley’s drummer, or snag a setlist after the show.

The first thing you’re surprised about when you’re sitting up close at a concert is that you can see ALL the features on the artists, including the sweat on their face! It’s harder to notice these fine details when you’re sitting far away, or looking at them through the screen. However, if you’re not jamming out and having a good time, the artist may not notice you. During Khalid’s set, after he stopped right in front of me, I got his attention through singing “Another Sad Love Song” as loudly as I could. I knew this tactic would be especially effective, since other people at the concert weren’t likely to know the song as well as some of his bigger hits. Fortunately, he noticed, pointed to me, and sang to me directly.

          

Another way we got attention was by putting our hands up and throwing our energy out anytime they came anywhere near us – through this we were able to touch nine different artists (Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Shawn Mendes, Tyga, Chris Brown, G-Eazy, and Anthony Russo)! The thrill of being cut after touching Chris Brown’s  hand since his ring was so sharp was a moment I’ll probably never forget. The excitement of being cut by hundreds of thousands of dollars of diamonds is an immense one! I also managed to catch G-Eazy’s sweat towel (which sounds gross, but I like to think of it as a souvenir from this experience) and make eye contact with many of my favorite artists.

        

Finally, it’s so cool to see these people who you look up to and listen to in person, where you can see their every move on stage, when suddenly, the realization that they’re actually real people too comes. Overall the front row experience is surreal, and easily ranks among one of the best night of my life, making the experience something I’ll never forget. I would recommend everyone be in the pit or front row at some point in their lives, as long as they are truly passionate about the artist they’re seeing, since it’ll make the experience way more fun and memorable.

I would also highly recommend the We Can Survive concert for everyone; they always have surprises and a variety of artists, the Hollywood Bowl is one of the nicest venues in LA, and it’s all for a great cause. Overall, you can’t beat that!

     
   
Review By: Ally Will
Photos By: Ally Will

Khalid’s ‘American Teen’: A Track by Track Album Review

1. “American Teen” – The song kicks off with arpeggiated piano chords and synth, New Wave beats that accompany Khalid’s rich, soulful voice. He sings about the opportunistic and sometimes careless life of a teenager, and his desire “to get the hell out of” his now former high school. “American Teen” is a generational anthem about happiness, finding oneself and youth’s simplicity. However, it is not until the very end (when Khalid and his friends have a campfire jam session) that listeners get a feel for being a true American teen.
2. “Young Dumb & Broke” – “Young Dumb & Broke” gives off a “Young, Wild & Free,” by Wiz Khalifa, type of vibe. This song cherishes the recklessness of the teenage lifestyle and even pokes fun at the “teenagers never listen” stereotype (“Yadadadadadadada”). In the end, however, the theme is mediocre and overplayed with a rather simple beat. Overall, the song is good, but one of my least favorite tracks on the album.
3. “Location” – This song brought Khalid into the limelight with its simplistic, but beat driven, production. The staccato piano riffs along with the smooth-like-butter vocals give this song a laid back, atmospheric vibe. Unlike other R&B artists, who got their start from hype tracks, Khalid’s first hit is a slow jam with clean vocals and sharp production. Usually, people over hype the most popular track on the album, making me dislike it. However, this song proved me wrong and has established Khalid as a powerhouse performer and songwriter.
4. “Another Sad Love Song” – Despite its title, “Another Sad Love Song” is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album and is also one of my personal favorites. The chorus is electrifying and catchy, while Khalid continues to incorporate a New Wave production style. It’s simple, but allows his soulful voice to carry the entire song. Catch me jamming out to this in the car.
5. “Saved” – Another favorite and one of his earliest works on SoundCloud, “Saved” is a song with smooth guitar picking and a bass line that rings throughout. This chill, vibe-out tune is the type of song you listen to in the car during a night drive. The jazz influences compliment Khalid’s deep, sultry voice while keeping up with the modern, beat driven production. Not until the very end does the song climax with a persistent beat and a harmony sung three and four octaves higher. Listen to this song – you won’t regret it.
6. “Coaster” – On the slower side of the album, this song starts with echoing “oohs,” simple piano tri-chords and Khalid’s smooth voice. His voice is the star of “Coaster” and a true talent (especially during the layered chorus). This ballad talks about previous lovers who lost the spark they once shared and now must find a way to move on. A somber song with emotions felt by any listener, this track shows Khalid’s ability to compose and deliver a different style of song.
7. “8TEEN” – The refrain, “So let’s do all the stupid sh*t that young kids do,” completely exemplifies Khalid’s running theme of being a teenager. Although this track shares the same message as “Young Dumb & Broke,” the lyricism and composition is more smoothly executed. The catchy piano chords echoing in the background, the synth sounding bass and the lyrics without the overdone “wild and free” message are refreshing. I definitely prefer this over track two on the album.
8. “Let’s Go” – Another song that emphasizes Khalid’s love for being a reckless teen, “Let’s Go” is a complete bop about just not giving a care. I can definitely see this song being sampled and remixed at a rave or house party. Anthem like, but composed well, I dig this track and you will too.
9. “Hopeless” – I love the addition of New Wave elements such as the experimental drum samples and vibe-y piano chords in this album. Khalid is definitely influenced by many ’70s and ’80s rock artists, as well as soulful R&B. “Hopeless,” however, doesn’t do it for me. This is a forgettable track that gets lost in the other standouts.

10. “Coldblooded” –  Who hurt you, Khalid? “Coldblooded” is about the heartbreak that left him sad and longing for love. This slow jam also isn’t a standout for me. It lacks the beat driven production and doesn’t flaunt Khalid’s true vocal talent. The only part of this song I could get into was the very end, and that feeling was fleeting.

11. “Winter” – Best song on the album. I’m not even going to explain. Please, listen to it.
12.Therapy” –  “Therapy” tells the story of a girl who’s his “addiction.” The feelings he has for her give him a high that he can’t escape. In so many tracks, Khalid doesn’t give us excessive sounding runs and bellowing falsettos. Instead, he has a soft, yet powerful and warm, voice that puts listeners in a relaxed trance. His unique vocal prowess is what stands out in this song. This talent is evident throughout the album, making Khalid a rare rising star.
13. “Keep Me” – The upbeat tempo track, “Keep Me,” opens with a more pop approach, compared to the majority of the other songs. The soft, finger style guitar is accompanied by a heavy but complimentary beat as Khalid sings about the imperfections of the girl he loves. There are more electronic influences (the crashing “cymbals,” voice remixes and sampled loops) incorporated to achieve the reoccurring New Wave sound.
14. “Shot Down” – With this song, Khalid changes it up. Instead of synthesized New Wave drum elements, he takes a more natural production approach. The harmonious intro, the repetitive piano chords and the steady snapping and percussion elements define raw talent. Even the lyricism that tells the tale of an overpowering love is ever so simplistic. “Shot Down” and “Coaster” are the tracks that prove Khalid is a versatile artist. With him, less is more.
15. “Angels” – At 19-years-old, Khalid is a poet. “Angels” is a fitting song to conclude “American Teen,” with piano keys that mimic those heard in church choirs. There is no overproduction or autotune – just keys and a heavenly voice draping me in warmth. Besides the musicality, the lyricism is genuine and vibrant, making listeners feel like they’re actually surrounded by angels. This final track leaves listeners speechless, and Khalid has really outdone himself by creating art so perfect. “Angels” is a bittersweet track that merely signals the beginning of this young teen’s stardom.
There isn’t much left to say about this album. This is an amazing debut for the El Paso singer, Khalid, and it has set the bar high for himself, as well as other R&B singers in 2017. “American Teen” is one of the best albums of the year and I give it a 4.5/5.