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Gig Review: Declan McKenna @ KOKO Camden


An inside look on the latest performance from the voice of Generation X

Dubbed the voice of Generation X, Declan McKenna took to the stage of KOKO Camden on the 3rd November to a three tiered audience of London’s youth. Within the crowd the energy was incredible. Just like moths to a flame the audience of 1,400 people surged forward until you could barely breathe. Nevertheless, within their confines the teens danced and screamed every word. The connection and passion from the fans could not have been more evident as the crowd took over the hit song “Brazil” and sang whilst McKenna looked on in awe. McKenna, 18, has one key advantage, he is on the same journey as his audience, and his youth allows his lyrics to dive into the minds and hearts of his fans, creating a greater connection where the audience genuinely believes every lyric.

Declan Mckenna’s physical interaction with the crowd could not be better. From spontaneous crowd surfing to standing on the barriers, you could not get a more hands on experience. Much like a puppy, he laps the stage, jumping off speakers and sliding on his knees whilst playing guitar solos. He creates a visual spectacle that engages his crowd and evokes the same playful energy in each member of the audience.

However, the teen artist fell fractionally short with his spoken showmanship, errors which have been seen time and time again with other young performers such as 5 Seconds of Summer and Melanie Martinez. For such a highly held thinker of this social media generation, his political and moral opinions do not shine through in person as one would expect. His preaching about the economy and welfare in “Listen To Your Friends” shaped part of his revolutionary image and fans would expect to listen to more of his ideas and thoughts about the world’s current situation. McKenna could take note from other vocal stars, such as Matty Healy of The 1975, who reflects a similar theology and shares a fan base. This opinionated engagement may come later on in his career as he grows in confidence as an artist and when he feels he can exercise his political voice freely. Meanwhile, in these early days he may be more focused on appealing to the masses and having a night based solely on the music where you can escape the dull reality of the world, which is the most important thing at the heart of any gig.

The theatrics of the gig were typical to that of an indie concert, with confetti cannons and the guitar being played on top of speakers and a good dynamic between McKenna and the rest of his band as they interacted on stage. However, the real magic was within the choice of venue; the platforms for the audience created a buzzing atmosphere without losing the intimacy of the gig as you were never in a poor viewing position, this allowed you to lose yourself in the tracks and the ambiance.

Overall, considering the £15 ticket value there is not a single reason to miss Declan McKenna and his band on their next tour, as it is sure to be an undoubtedly atmospheric night that will leave you still singing on the tube journey home.

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