One phrase springs to mind when it comes to the ever rising indie talent that is Declan McKenna, age is but a number. While this phrase is often coined for someone on the opposite end of the spectrum age wise it also feels like a fitting way to describe the young man. At 18 years of age, McKenna has slowly started to cement himself as a household name. He’s already played Glastonbury’s Park Stage as well as winning the festival’s Emerging Talent Contest, taken America by storm and played to millions of people by himself on American talk show Conan. As if these achievements weren’t enough, his songwriting capabilities are a sight to behold. Somehow at such a young age, McKenna is able to write like a veteran of the trade.
As he strides on stage accompanied by his band you can see the confidence brimming, he acknowledges the crowd before belting straight into 2016 single ‘Isombard’. The track works perfectly as a set opener it’s youthful energy is felt throughout the crowd with McKenna not even needing to sing with every lyric being screamed back at him. The night also allowed McKenna to showcase songs from his upcoming debut album, the first new song of the night, entitled ‘Make Me Your Queen’, started with a Blur-esque acoustic into while slowly building up to a top that Alex Turner would have been proud of.
However it’s another new song that really lets Declan McKenna stand up above the rest, ‘Listen To Your Friends’ is a song written for a generation that is slowly being fucked up by a government who don’t seem to give a shit; the bridge see’s McKenna pushing himself to the front, pushing himself to be the voice of a generation that is desperate to be heard. It’s refreshing to see a voice for the young that wants to stand up and be counted.
During the captivating one-hour set it’s obvious McKenna was born to be a frontman, during fan favourite ‘Paracetamol’ he waltzes around the stage, mic in hand looking like a seasoned performer. His interaction with the crowd is phenomenal, at such a young age he already knows how to have every single pair of eyes firmly set on him. The set finishes with a rapturous rendition of debut single ‘Brazil’ that has arms aloft with every single person in the room screaming every word back.
A young man full of confidence and for good reason. Declan McKenna is destined for a huge future and with every show he plays you can see his star rising. A new voice for a generation in desperate need of one.
Words by Callum McCormack