REVIEW: DECLAN MCKENNA @ THEKLA, BRISTOL

Kicking off his headline show last night at the infamous Thekla, Declan Mckenna steamrolled into town and didn’t hold anything back.

With the release of his impending debut album, What Do You Think About The Car?, his audience were eager to hear the new sounds of Declan McKenna.

The excitement was palpable as there was screaming every time a stagehand showed their face, girls in the front thinking they’d caught a glimpse of Declan. Meanwhile, Madonna’s Like A Prayer blasted over the speakers to psych everyone up pre-Declan.

Striding onto stage, confetti cannon in hand and signature thick black eyeliner applied, Declan set it off without a word and the band jumped straight into Isombard. With it’s characteristic fast paced keyboard driven intro, there was no hanging about as the crowd rejoiced.

During the night there were many new songs from his forthcoming debut album scattered throughout the set – all of which were reasons enough alone to pre-order it. They showed a different style to the band, especially Listen To Your Friends which has a slightly bluesy vibe with Declan switching to an acoustic guitar to play a lazy swing style. The track then changed during the bridge where Declan changed the style to speak of current affairs which were highlighted because of the change of rhythm. It demonstrated an air of maturity for the band as they could eloquently sing of real issues and still captivate the crowd.

Saving Brazil until last, a torrent of balloons were released into the crowd and a fiesta frenzy transpired. Declan took this opportunity to attempt a stage-dive, which from where I was standing may have only been marginally more successful than Harry Styles’ dive in New York. However, this didn’t deter him as he was pulled back onto the stage to deliver his final anthem.

The spirits on-board Thekla were high thanks to the magic from Declan McKenna’s set as the crowd were left with the reverb and the last lines of Brazil, “and that was my triple collateral on free for all”.

The show portrayed just how far Declan McKenna has come in the last couple of years as a band, with Declan himself remarking how much better they’d become since the last time they were here. He may only be 18, but with his ability to command an audience and create such irresistibly catchy melodies supporting mature themed lyrics, he’s sure to be sticking around for a while.

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