High School Nation Tour Featuring Drake Bell, Dakota Bradley and Bean plays Kentwood High

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Photo credit – Jess Casebeer

For the past 10 years, High School Nation has worked with thousands of public high schools and middle schools, building strong relationships with their students and staff. High School Nation began with a focus on providing free lunchtime concerts for students across the country, and has grown into a facilitator for talented student artists. High School Nation provides opportunities for teens to express themselves through the arts, while also learning first-hand from established artists in performing, digital, and fine arts.

On this rainy September day in the northwest the HSN tour made a stop on the outskirts of Kent at Kentwood High School. A rabid group of students waited in anticipation and the when doors finally opened after a countdown they flocked into the gym, each trying to get the best spot to see the show. The weather outside wouldn’t dampen the spirit inside for the lunchtime treat they’d been waiting for.

On the brightly orange colored stage with an inflatable roof, each band played abbreviated sets of roughly 20 minutes or so due to the last minute decision to move what was supposed to be an outdoor show, indoors. The show must go on right? There was a DJ in between sets to keep the energy level up.

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Photo credit – Jess Casebeer

Bean who is an American singer/songwriter who is touring on her new EP, released in June 2014. This year her song “Let’s Go” has been featured on Mitsubishi and lay’s television commercials, and you can hear her new single “Rollercoaster” currently on radio stations nationwide. Of course she played this song for the Kentwood High Schoolers and she incited probably the best audience reaction other than Drake Bell with her fun and energetic pop sound.

Check out our interview with Bean HERE

Nikos…a 4 person power pop outfit brought out some energy for the Kentwood crowd and Dakota Bradley, who was captured by the eyes of an Ellen DeGeneres producer, leading to a big break and the opportunity to perform on the hit daytime show seen by millions, garnered some good audience participation with his brand of rockin’ country. With maybe just a little more emphasis on the rock, he got them singing along with him. The crowd loved him and the band and they let them know it with squeals and screams throughout the set.

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Photo credit – Jess Casebeer

But the crowd was waiting for a guy that many of them had grown up watching and adoring on TV. That was Drake Bell. Drake Bell is an American actor, musician, singer-songwriter, comedian, television personality, voice actor and record producer but his best known from the Drake and Josh Show. The crowd was in a mild frenzy by the time he took the stage and started off his short performance with a solid cover version of “Ho-Hey” by The Lumineers. With hands and cellphones raised in a celebratory fashion, most in the crowd started singing “Makes Me Happy”, as Bell busted into that well known song from the second Drake and Josh movie, ‘Really Big Shrimp’.

He ended the show with a song that’s been heard countless times daily by parents everywhere, the Drake and Josh theme song, “I Found a Way”. That one sparked a gymnasium full of i-phones trying to capture the moment digitally. He was clearly who everyone was waiting for and he had to do very little instigating, the attendees already knew what to do.

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