The crowd filed into the venue early to catch support act Girli (Milly Toomey). The Guardian has described her style as veering “between PC music, bubblegum pop, punk and rap” which might sound strange, but while listening, it’s clear to see her different influences merge.
Performing with DJ Kitty, each song is sung with passionate vocals, accompanied by solid beats. Addressing issues from infidelity within the music industry to fuckboys, it’s refreshing to see a young female expressing the positive message of girl power rather than just another average support band. The powerful set left the crowd waiting with anticipation for the headliner.
Having last been at Tut’s supporting Blossoms, tonight it was Declan’s turn to be the main act. Springing onto the stage firing a confetti cannon and bursting into Isombard set the tone for the night, with the crowd reciprocating the immense energy coming from the stage.
The rest of the set was filled with his more well-known songs and newer numbers that we may be seeing on his debut album coming this summer. This was definitely a contender for one of the most energetic gigs I’ve been to with the youthful crowd going into a near frenzy for every song.
During a pause in the set, a member of the audience asked Declan to take off his shirt. In reply, he joked that it was now legal for him to do it. At this point, it actually hit me how young he is. It’s almost unfathomable that he only turned 18 in December considering the immense talent he has.
Unlike most modern day songwriters, Declan actually uses his lyrics to deal with taboo topics such as the black lives matter movement, religion and conversion therapy with LGBT teens. These lyrics seem to fit perfectly within his catchy hooks and choruses to give the complete indie package. With such accomplished songwriting at such a young age and the benefit of being signed to a major label, you get the feeling McKenna has the ability to take these songs to a worldwide audience.
With his debut album being released in the summer, I’d assumed there'd be a slight plug at some point during the set, yet instead Declan used his voice to encourage the audience to register to vote. Although a large part of the crowd would have probably been too young, it’s positive to see an artist encouraging his audience to be engaged in politics.
Declan finished with his most popular hit Brazil, a song riddled with lyrics about corruption disguised in a catchy melody and chorus. The song is just another example of the talent this kid has - if his debut album can stand up to all this hype, it’s hard not to see world domination as the next step.
DECLAN MCKENNA'S TOUR CONTINUES:
MAY 23 - HEAVEN - LONDON, UK
MAY 24 - O2 INSTITUTE 2 - BIRMINGHAM, UK
MAY 26 - RESCUE ROOMS - NOTTINGHAM, UK
MAY 30 - CONCORDE 2 - BRIGHTON, UK
JUNE 01 - BADABOUM - PARIS, FRANCE
JUNE 02 - BITTERZOET - AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
JUNE 03 - PINKPOP FESTIVAL 2017 - LANDGRAFF, NETHERLANDS
JUNE 04 - KOLL AN AKIOUN - LUXEMBOURG
JUNE 17 - THE BOILEROOM - GUILDFORD, UK
JUNE 18 - BEDFORD ESQUIRES - BEDFORD, UK
JUNE 21-25 - GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL 2017, PILTON, UK
JUNE 21 - ZEPHYR LOUNGE - LEAMINGTON SPA, UK
JUNE 22 - CLWB IFOR BACH - CARDIFF, UK
JUNE 29 - ROCK WERCHTER 2017 - WERCHTER, BELGIUM
JULY 09 - TRNSMT FESTIVAL 2017 - GLASGOW, UK
JULY 13-16 - FIB BENICASSIM - BENICASSIM, SPAIN
JULY 13 - SLOTTSFJELL FESTIVAL - TONSBERG, NORWAY
JULY 15-21 - VALKHOF FESTIVAL - NIJMEGEN, NETHERLANDS
JULY 15 - LATITUDE FESTIVAL 2017 - SOUTHWOLD, UK
JULY 20 - OUT OF THE WOODS FESTIVAL - WIESEN, AUSTRIA
JULY 27 - Y NOT? FESTIVAL 2017 - DERBYSHIRE, UK
AUGUST 03 - LOLLAPALOOZA - CHICAGO, UK
AUGUST 19 - SUMMER SONIC - OSAKA, JAPAN
AUGUST 25 - READING FESTIVAL 2017 - READING, UK
AUGUST 26 - LEEDS FESTIVAL 2017 - LEEDS, UK
AUGUST 27 - LE CABARET VERT - CHARLEVILLE MEZIERES, FRANCE
REVIEW BY: SETH ALLEN