Live Review: Presence

The Peppermint Club  Beverly Hills, CA

Contact: Penny Palmer, ppalmer@


Players: Presence, vocals, backing tracks

Material: In only his third-ever live show, hip-hop artist Presence delivered an intimate, intensely passionate performance to a packed house at the Peppermint Club. While his songs navigate dark, challenging topics—including mental health and the loss of a loved one—his ability to share himself fully with the audience is a testament to his character and the community he is committed to building around his music.

Musicianship: Vulnerable and emotive, Presence does not hold back on stage. Taking time to connect visually with various audience members as he sings his truth, his natural rhythms and cadence carry his poignant lyrics through each track. His songs have great momentum and build tension for the listener, with dramatic cutoffs and flourishes from his backing tracks adding intrigue to his material. Known best for diving into his own most vulnerable moments through his music, “You Were My Best Friend” was written to commemorate his grandfather, having penned the song just one week after his passing.

Performance: Show opener “We Did Not Make Sense” delivered great flow and emotional delivery, captivating the crowd with his raw openness, while newer release, “Nightmare,” built on the intensity of his vocals and emotion. “Dear Depression” continued with his vulnerable style, describing how Presence navigated his battles with mental health, with the raw lyricism building on the crowd’s investment. Latest single, “I’m Okay I Swear” was a bit rushed and the backing track was a little muddy, but it still delivered a great beat and message. Evening closer “Just Hold On” wrapped the set with the underlying message of all of Presence’s music, and was an inspiration to anyone struggling through their own darkness.

Summary: Unassuming and genuine, Presence is a rising star of a performer. Unapologetically himself, he delivers a level of authenticity very rarely seen at a live show, making it easy for audience members to fall in love with his relatable artistry and storytelling. His ability to normalize and hold space for some of life’s most challenging emotions makes him a gem of a performer, and creates a palpable bond between him and his fans.

Photo by Sam Sabinash