When you first lay eyes on Declan McKenna it doesn’t seem like he’s going to impress you much.
He’s short and slim. Sporting a patterned shirt and white trousers, his face is covered in glitter and his eyeliner style bears a similar resemblance to Cleopatra’s.
He enters the stage quietly followed by the other band members, thanks everyone for being there and announces ‘Isombard’ as the first song. As soon as the beat starts the crowd is already in a frenzy.
It’s bodies jumping up and down. Hands in the air underneath soft pink lighting. He doesn’t smile much but he doesn’t need to.
At only 18, Mckenna has already five singles out. From afar his music seems the typical indie-like sound but a closer look to his lyrics reveal a much deeper meaning. Most of his songs refer to current issues. He has said he writes about politics and also “general things I feel strongly about, things happening in my life”.
His most popular single ‘Brazil’ criticises FIFA for awarding the country the title of host for the 2014 World Cup without addressing the enormous poverty that runs deep in the South-American land.
After the first song he admits he’s been feeling under the weather and asks the crowd to be as energetic as possible in order to balance the atmosphere.
The fans excitedly obey and throughout his set a small, but powerful, mosh pit forms itself in the middle of the crowd. It’s people bumping frantically into each other to the sound of his latest single ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’.
He doesn’t talk much and keeps alternating between the acoustic guitar and its electrical version. ‘Paracetamol’ is declared as the next song when he says “I took a couple before coming to stage”. At one point he humors the lot saying “I’m secretly from the North”.