DECLAN McKENNA – O2 FORUM REVIEW
Thursday 5th April was the return to the O2 FORUM in Kentish Town for Singer/Songwriter Declan McKenna to a sold out venue.
Upon arriving the queues were flowing through the doors of people eager to see this young musician, arriving about 7.45pm I took my ticket and made my way upstairs to the balcony only to be left to try and find a place to sit. The early bird gets the worm or in this case the seat. I end up taking my place standing overlooking the crowds of people stood downstairs. The audience for this gig mixed, mostly young between 15 and early 20’s, I did feel a little old being the 35-year old by myself, however the parents in the audience who had obviously escorted their children to see Declan McKenna had also taken their places at the highest point of the venue made feel a little more at ease.
I had previously first seen a little of Declan McKenna’s talent at a 10TH Birthday BBC Introducing gig back in October at Brixton Academy, celebrating the artists that the programmed had helped and couldn’t help but notice the talent this lad had. Back then styled with face paint and a retro jacket we witnessed an artist not short on confidence.
Declan was supported by WHENYOUNG and SUPERFOOD.
Whenyoung were halfway through their set as I took my place to watch tonights gig, and unlike some gigs where the support play to a half-filled venue, such as the demand and eagerness for this gig they got to play to a near full capacity worthy of their undoubted talent. This Irish trio certainly has a bright future as the guitar playing band that they are based on the performance they gave and having already been invited to play at Shane McGowan’s birthday party and mixing with the likes of Bono they appear to be connected too!
Superfood then took their place on stage as the penultimate act before McKenna to a rousing reception. The gig goers already suitably impressed by Whenyoung were hyped and ready for more. Playing songs from last years album Bambino, they roll the songs off with ease, easily settled on stage in front of this capacity crowd, the crowd swaying and singing back to the band ending the set on a self-titled track everyone was now suitably warmed up for the main act of the night.
A short break in proceedings, a mixture of music played and displayed on the screens either side of the venue. Abba, Will.I.Am, Tiffany had girls mostly bopping along and singing, keeping spirits high. The stage in darkness awaiting the arrival of the man we had all come to see.
Declan McKenna then strides on stage. The crowd scream and cheer with excitement. Playing out mostly songs from his album ‘What do you think about the car?’ He raised the bar and set out his stall for the night with the opening song ‘Make me your Queen’ and to raise excitement, even more, had a confetti cannon shoot out over everyone in the packed standing area. Roars from the crowd followed, pictures taken and gig-goers sang along. Followed by the song ‘Brazil’ he continued the standard he set for the rest of the night.
Throughout this show, Declan McKenna oozed confidence not found in most 19-year-olds, as he set about his stage. Not shy to take up every inch of it, striding from right to left, behind him his band, the stage set with different levels, McKenna utilised this many times to stand tall and show off his guitar skills. His jacket styled with Angel wings on the back, his movement reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker and Mick Jagger. McKenna is one for the Millenials and that was supported by the legions of fans that turned out to see him. McKenna had the crowd singing back to him at every opportunity. With other songs like ‘Why do you feel so down’ and ‘Listen to your friends’ the fans were getting their monies worth and favourite anthems played out to them and by the time he finished his encore including a new song ‘Astronaut’ he had left everyone wanting more.
Declan McKenna has stage presence, a host of fans and some pretty exciting songwriting talent already and on this evidence a huge future ahead of him at an already young age. With his album peaking in the Uk Charts at No.11 it’s only a matter of when and not if this artist breaks into the top 10 straight to No.1.
— Declan mcKenna (@DeclanMcKenna) April 6, 2018