Declan McKenna gives unforgettable performance at THINK TANK

Photos by Meg Firth


On the 28th of December the capital of the North East of England experience a shockwave triggered by the influential voice of 18 year old Declan McKenna.

McKenna is delightfully spreading and painting minds of a new generation and the agony that supplements them by living in our world, that is encircled with sexism, racism, homophobia, and a questionable president.

With meaningful tunes that hold hands with a political and significant voice of reason this new era of talent overjoyed a cosy crowd, opening with the electronic and catchy ‘Isombard’. Undeniably a pleaser, the prominent ‘if you can’t walk, then run’ was shouted by many voices in the room. Symbolising how illogical and disconnected the right wing media can be, whether they knew it or not those singing along were singing words of substance, which happen to be pulled from thoughts of a teenager.


McKenna proceeded to play more songs such as ‘Bethlehem’, ‘Basic’, ‘Why?’ and ‘Brew’, now married to the crowd just inches from him and leading them down his newly found path of modern music which contains a juxtapose of melancholy lyrics and upbeat melodies. He seems to do this with ease, displaying the older (or, perhaps ‘younger’) head on his shoulders.

When the synth style beats for Declan’s newest single ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ faded in, a sense of bottled anger against the establishment exploded from a collection of alert teens, representing McKenna as a voice of a generation. With all singing the lyrics “Haven’t you any shame? Have you got no morals?” so loud it seemed there was an attitude that those in power would eventually hear it themselves.

Complete with stage invasions, bad eyeliner and balloons, McKenna completed his night with songs that imprint lyrics into young brains, such as ‘Paracetamol’ (based on transgender teens and the media’s sometimes distorted view of them) and ‘Brazil’ (his first single, criticizing the controversial decision of FIFA granting the World Cup 2014 to Brazil without addressing the deep poverty which surrounds).

Declan McKenna’s songs are merely a step through a puddle but rather a dive to the deepest part of the ocean, and he gladly showed this dark but irresistibly tuneful take on current crisis with satisfied youngsters that night. Snappy, clever, and undoubtedly the start of a long music career, Declan McKenna did not only open pits that night, but minds too.


Words by Anna Edwards


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