WaMu Theater, Seattle, WA

Khalid is one of those crazy stories that sneak up through the cracks and just blow up. With an insanely good voice and charismatic attitude to match, the 20-year-old singer from Texas took the world by storm a little over a year ago when he dropped his debut album, American Teen, and wasn’t long before he was selling out tours and racking up record album sales.

After selling out Marymoor last summer for a perfect night under the fairy lights, the Khalid-fever was strong in Seattle—many were left without tickets or facing triple-digit resale prices. Since that show in July, he’s only released a few singles and collabs, staying relevant in the music world, but not causing any real waves. But even staying so mellow, when Khalid announced The Roxy Tour back in December, all the hype came back, and he ended up selling out WaMu on a Thursday night.

The night kicked off with another serving of pop in the form of PRETTYMUCH, an American-Canadian boy band formed by Simon Cowell in 2016. Two years after One Direction announced their tragic breakup, the world is still left largely without a group to fill the void. 5 Seconds of Summer never quite got the attention and they actually play instruments, Why Don’t We seem to carry an odd reputation, and so PRETTYMUCH has found their home in 1D’s vacancy.

Five tan boys with perfectly choreographed songs and a craving for the crowd’s attention, the boy band might have been a surprising choice to open the show but turned out to be pretty entertaining. It was hard not to appreciate the perfect dancing and smiling reactions from the girls in the front row before Khalid took over.

Releasing much of his album as singles, Khalid slowly gained fans in the year leading up to his album release. But once American Teen dropped in the spring of 2017, it was all over. Suddenly everyone knew his name, “Location” was blasted around every corner, and you’d be pretty hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know who he was, even though he’d been basically non-existent just a few months before.

His show at Marymoor Park nurtured the hype with a laidback summer night in the park, perfectly matching his album. A year later, that same warmth permeated the air enough to heat the cold concrete box that is WaMu Theater.

Dramatically opening his sat from a raised platform at the back of the stage, Khalid proudly sported a Seahawks jersey and bumped along to “8TEEN” with the crowd, quickly reminding everyone why they loved that debut album so much. The set then moved quickly through the tracks from the record, as everyone sang along.

With this being Khalid’s second tour to support the same album, it gave him a chance to change things up a little. The change came in the form of more stripped-down versions of songs, making them less pop and a little more emotional, showing off his voice really well.

The crowd also got a taste of some of the more notable collabs that he’s been dropping lately, including a solo version of “The Ways,” his Black Panther contribution, “Rolling,” his track with Calvin Harris, and “Love Lies,” the track he released with Normani.

Khalid just has a great live performance, which easily explains how he sold out a 5,000-person venue in the height of his popularity, and another 5,000-person venue a year later when some of the initial craziness has died down—or at least it seemed. His set was emotional—drawing from past experiences—but also easy to follow and dance along to, creating the perfect mix for a concert night.

Review and photos by Lulu Dawson