Chicago Crowd Swoons Over Soulful Kevin Garrett
Photos by Emily Nava
“I’ve played in Chicago a lot, and this is the best,” says Kevin Garrett before playing his last song to a sold out Lincoln Hall on Thursday evening. Although he wrapped up his set with a solo performance, the 25 year old R&B singer-songwriter/producer had just played an hour long set with a full backing band. Prior to this solo finish, the early set kicked off a few minutes before 8:30 PM, with one of the new tracks from Kevin’s EP out Friday, called “Heart Like Yours.”
The night moved along with another newer track, “Stranglehold,” which was finally released as a single just last month. It’s crazy to think that just over a year ago on the same stage, Kevin opened his set with that song, as the first of two openers on tour with Skylar Grey and X Ambassadors. As the night progressed and Kevin completely owned the stage, it’s clear how much he has improved as a performer during that year or so. During each song, a complete hush fell over the crowd, as if Kevin had placed them all in a trance. It’s always a rare and special moment to see an audience that captivated and consumed with a performer, but with Kevin’s soulful and swoon-worthy vocals, it’s not surprising. While Kevin has always put on a great show, this time reached another level entirely. Every time he performs here, there’s always so much love and positive energy from the audience, and Kevin even acknowledged the support he’s received from Chicago towards the end of the set.
Besides a maturity in stage presence, Kevin has also bulked up his setlist for this False Hope Tour, in support of his new EP of the same name. Before performing “Little Bit Of You,” a single that had been released the week prior, Kevin mentioned that his new EP would come out at midnight and thanked the crowd for being there. The 14 song set included every song off of the new 5 song EP, like “The Way I Keep Myself Together” and “Pulling Me Under.” In addition to these newer songs, Kevin has also spruced up his already-excellent backing band, adding another keyboardist, Brett Williams. Together, the band and Kevin delivered a flawless sounding set, and the crowd especially seemed to enjoy some of the newer songs.
Perhaps the most incredible thing about Kevin as an artist is that even with this continued success and additional work he has put into his live show, he’s still very much hands on when it comes to the business side of music, and he’s very approachable for his fans. He spent time both before and after the show meeting fans, selling merch, and he even worked with the lighting person on staff at the venue to work out cues for each song. In the ever-evolving music business, it seems that more and more artists get out of touch with this kind of busy work, but it’s very refreshing to see such a talented artist like Kevin still having a hold on it.
The False Hope Tour continues on through March, so make sure to catch the show if Kevin is coming to a city near you.
Listen to the False Hope EP here:
Heart Like Yours
Come Up Short
Little Bit Of You
Pulling Me Under
Never Knock/Sam Cooke Cover
The Way I Keep Myself Together
Pray You Catch Me