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Live Recap: Kevin Garrett Makes His Return to Lincoln Hall

The first time I saw Kevin Garrett perform was way back in 2015, when he opened up an X Ambassadors show at Lincoln Hall and he only had one EP (Mellow Drama) to his name. This past Sunday night, I got to see Kevin Garrett return to the very same stage—only this time he was headlining, and he had a lot of new material under his belt.

Between the first time and this most recent show, Garrett has been back to Chicago performing on several different stages, and he independently released 2017’s False Hope Ep and his 2019 full length debut Hoax. His debut album had been a long time coming, and it followed a significant touring hiatus. “Some people thought I died last year,” the singer had joked during his set when he mentioned his time away. While it may have been a significant break, fans old and new filled up the room, eager to soak in long-time favorites and brand new songs. Garrett and his live band beautifully delivered everything they had as they performed songs from the album for the first time and put a refreshing spin on some of the older material. They even performed “Pray You Catch Me,” which Garrett had written with Beyonce for 2016’s Lemonade. The dynamic setlist truly went full circle— beginning with the first track from Hoax, “Warn,” and ending with Garrett’s most popular track, “Coloring,” which is the first track off his debut EP. Throughout the 90 minute set, Garrett’s signature falsetto vocals never wavered, pulling the crowd in with the vulnerable and raw quality of his songwriting. Fans joined in on the cathartic singalong of course, which didn’t go unnoticed by Garrett. “I’m in Chicago and you guys are singing songs I wrote in my bedroom,” he said as he thanked the audience for their continued support throughout the years.

There’s an undeniable sense of authenticity to Kevin Garrett’s music and his live performances, and it’s clear that as long as that quality remains, Chicago will be showing up to support him for a long time. See where you can catch Kevin Garrett on tour next here, and see photos of his latest Chicago performance below!

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:


  1. Heart Like Yours

  2. Stranglehold

  3. Pushing Away

  4. Come Up Short

  5. Little Bit Of You

  6. Precious

  7. Pulling Me Under

  8. Refuse

  9. Coloring

  10. Never Knock/Sam Cooke Cover

  11. Control

  12. The Way I Keep Myself Together


  1. Pray You Catch Me

  2. Solo