Live Review: Katelyn Tarver Brings an Intimate Energy to Houston on Her Compliments Only Tour

Katelyn Tarver © JT Clemente
Katelyn Tarver © JT Clemente
Singer/songwriter and actress Katelyn Tarver shines for an enthralled Texan crowd on her intimate and energetic Compliments Only tour.
Stream: “Parallel Universe” – Katelyn Tarver

The best concerts leave you feeling like you’ve been invited into the artist’s living room.

They share their life with you and make you a part of it. This is never dependent on room size or fan volume. It is always dependent on the artist – and singer/songwriter and actress Katelyn Tarver has this ability in spades. On September 30th at Houston’s House of Blues, she invited us into her life and gave us a show we will never forget.

A well thought out 16-song set complete with new tracks, band banter, and genuine interactions with the crowd, Tarver created an atmosphere that was exciting and warm. She captivated the crowd from start to finish on the Houston stop of her Compliments Only tour. There’s no doubt that given the chance, all who were in attendance will leap at the next chance to see Tarver live.

A special mention for Jack Gray, who opened for Tarver. As a single person on a stage with a loop pedal, Gray put on an incredibly impressive set with vocals to stun. We look forward to seeing more of him.

Katelyn Tarver - Compliments Only Tour Poster
Katelyn Tarver – Compliments Only Tour Poster

Katelyn Tarver strides on to stage confidently starting off with a newer, but nonetheless fan favorite, “Cinematic” – setting the tone for the movie-like feel that would be the rest of the evening. The environment gets moodier with “Hurt Like That” followed by “Nicer.” Tarver effortlessly moves throughout the stage with vocals smooth as butter.

Moving between acoustic to electric to singing only, Tarver shows the breadth of her musicianship and skillset. “Starting to Scare Me” – her second single of the year, released in June – plays, and the crowd begins to sing a little louder. Tarver has warmed us up and at this point in the set, no one can take their eyes away from the stage. It’s not easy to keep a crowd enthralled during a full set – Tarver does this in its entirety.

Katelyn Tarver © JT Clemente
Katelyn Tarver © JT Clemente

Tarver plays through a few more songs including “Shit Happens” and “Love Alone” before getting to the only cover of the show, but one worth mentioning, “The Only Exception.” She belts this iconic song as the crowd sings along in a very special moment of the show.

Not only does Tarver continuously keep us involved by introducing her band and interacting with the audience, but she even has a fan request portion of the show. This isn’t an easy thing for musicians to do. They have their setlist, it’s rehearsed and ready. To pull an old song out of a hat at a moment’s notice is no short feat. Tarver does this for an excited crowd and executes flawlessly.

An Atwood highlight for the show was Tarver’s performance of “Ignorance Is Bliss.” She emotes the song the way the lyrics deserve. It’s no surprise she has an acting background and she truly has the ability to make you feel each song as they were meant to be felt.

Katelyn Tarver © JT Clemente
Katelyn Tarver © JT Clemente

The Houston crowd was also lucky enough to get two new Tarver songs, “Quitter” and “Japanese Cafe,” both of which make us extremely excited for the album that is to come.

Tarver ends the show with a powerful performance of her August single, “Parallel Universe.” The friendly stage presence wasn’t just for show, as she kindly stayed at the venue after her set to say hello to fans, take photographs, and sign vinyls. Not all artists do this – in fact few do, and when they do, they charge for it. Tarver did it for her fans.

This was a ten-out-of-ten show, and we highly recommend catching Katelyn Tarver whenever she’s in a city near you. The European leg of the Compliments Only tour stars up in November, hitting cities in the UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, Oslo, and Sweden!

Katelyn Tarver’s upcoming sophomore album, Quitter, is expected to release February 2024 via Nettwerk Music Group.

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Quitter - Katelyn Tarver

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