Photos and Review by Samantha Witt
It was a gorgeous, sunny evening with the scent of hot dogs in the air and cheers erupting from a Mariners baseball game going on at the stadium next door. Dermot Kennedy and opener Kevin Garrett, with local support from Savanna Woods, played to a large crowd at the WAMU Theater in Seattle. The artists put on an unforgettable show that left the audience wanting more.
The evening kicked off with a local musician, Savanna Woods. This PNW-based artist appeared on season 20 of The Voice, singing for Team Kelly, and made it to the top 20 contestants. She has a lovely stage presence and played a handful of her original tunes before closing out her honeyed set with an incredible cover of The Cranberries hit, "Zombie." Her music was a great fit for Kennedy’s fans, and her smile warmed up the audience nicely before Kevin Garrett and his crew took the stage.
Kevin Garrett is a talented singer-songwriter and producer originally from Pittsburgh. His music has been praised for its soulful vocals and evocative lyrics, and he definitely brought that emotion with him to Seattle. Garrett did the right thing by stopping mid-beat during his opening song to ensure a fan who was having a medical issue was cared for out in the crowd before continuing on. Garrett was accompanied by drums and keys and played a moving set with songs like "A Little Bit of You" and "Coloring" that were crowd favorites and truly had the audience amped for Kennedy’s impending performance.
Following an electric opening set, Dermot Kennedy took the stage amid thunderous cheers from the audience. Dressed in a casual black sweatshirt and cargo pants with bright white sneakers combo, Kennedy’s band played a long intro with vibrant flashes on the wide screens before he took to the angled stage. Dermot opened the show with “Blossom,” followed by his hit, “Power Over Me.” From the moment he walked on stage, Kennedy had the crowd in the palm of his hand with powerful vocals and raw emotion. He played a mix of old favorites and new material, including “Lost,” “Dreamer,” and “Outnumbered.”
Kennedy did not just impress with his singing; the Irish singer-songwriter chatted up the audience with memories of past experiences in Seattle along with some well-timed banter. He talked about his drink, calling out that the conversation was “Good Stage Banter” and got the crowd laughing out loud. Kennedy’s music is a blend of hip-hop and pop with a little folk, and it has been compared to other Irish artists like Hozier and Damien Rice. His band, which included a drummer, bassist, keys, and backup vocals, lined the back of the stage and brought their own unique and vibrant energy to the show. One of the highlights of the night was Kennedy’s powerful performance of "Glory," a haunting tribute to his late grandmother.
The concert was a truly enchanting experience; the lighting and graphic design were elements that added an extra dimension of visual excitement and elevated Kennedy’s powerful lyrics. When he played "Rome," he asked the audience to light the dark theater with their cell phone flashlights, creating an enchanting setting for such a beautiful song.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night was at the very end, when Kennedy asked the audience to sing along to "Something to Someone." Thousands of fans joined in, creating a truly magical moment that showed the power of Dermot Kennedy’s music and the love his fans have for him.
Kennedy’s talent, authenticity, and heart made for a riveting performance that left the audience feeling inspired and uplifted. The Sonder Tour continues on to the southwest before heading back east over the summer. If you are a fan of Dermot Kennedy, then you don’t want to miss the chance to see him live.