In 2015 he was winning Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition. In 2017, singer-songwriter Declan McKenna is out on tour promoting his upcoming, full-length, debut album.
One night this March at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth a few hundred teenagers waited in line to see Declan. What they got was an incredible show, starting with Irish musician and YouTube cover artist Orla Gartland’s opening act and ending with Declan crowd-surfing the excited audience.
The opening act consisted of the sweet, relatable, Taylor-Swift-esque songs of Orla Gartland which the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy. After Orla’s act came to an end the audience was left waiting for another half an hour before McKenna made his appearance on stage, starting the show right away with one of his most loved songs, Isombard, much to the crowd’s glee.
The set consisted of many of the all time favourite hits such as ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ and ‘Paracetamol’ which the crowd was more than willing to sing along to. McKenna established himself not only as a great musician but a brilliant showman as well, dancing energetically around the stage and giving out catchy shout outs in between his songs, firstly to his band (which I was delighted to see consisted mainly of girls) and moving later on to just about anything you would not think of. ‘Shout out to communism,’ was met by many cheers from his audience proving perhaps that teenagers will cheer for just about anything their favourite personalities say. However Declan seemed to be amused by this and jokingly added, ‘we’ve got socialism in the house.’
With his songs being loaded with intelligent, well written lyrics that speak out on the importance of young people taking part in political conversations, it’s no doubt Declan was testing his audience with a well placed jokes.
Much to everyone’s excitement, McKenna and his band also performed a number of new songs from his upcoming album which by the sounds of it is going to be a huge success. The evening ended on a high note with Declan and band playing, at the crowd’s request, the opening song, Isombard for a second time.