On the run up to Glastonbury, Declan McKenna has been playing a series of warm-up shows across the UK. For just a new and upcoming artist, Declan has quickly gained a vast and diverse number of fans. This was perfectly shown on an incredibly hot and sweaty night in Leamington Spa at the small, intimate venue Zephyr Lounge.
To kick off, enthusiastic frontman Joe Hamm of the indie four-piece Indigo Husk opened the show with a thrashing and upbeat guitar driven track ‘Waits of the year’. Playing a fun set the boys produce the energy which got almost everyone jumping and singing along immediately. With this wild atmosphere quickly becoming very exciting, ‘Mockingbird’ was caught in the epic waves of what was an indie mosh pit. New single ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ created further yelps of joy. Ending the support act with their ear-worm and summer anthem ‘Misbehave’, the crowd were sure happy with this finale.
Right from the beginning the room was about to burst. After returning from outside where everyone hoped to find some air, the energy was only turned up a notch inside. As McKenna and his band stepped out, the song’s opening was hardly audible above the screams of cheer from the busy crowd. With the room jumping along, it set the precedent for the rest of the evening; McKenna was bringing an epic party to Leamington.
There was blatantly lots of energy from his crowd, everyone was singing and jumping around. ‘Bethlehem’ had everyone clapping with splashes of blue, pink and green filtered lights appearing on Declan’s happy face. Hit after hit McKenna and his band never failed to have the crowd sing to every word including ‘Paracetamol’ and new single ‘Humongous’. Especially during ‘Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ there was something incredibly inspiring when hearing a crowd full of young teens singing back politically driven lyrics.
Throughout his set Declan decided to play some new material, and alongside his cheeky banter onstage the crowd only seemed to admire him more. For most of the evening the crowd joined in to accompany him with the lyrics. This gig especially brought some many people of different ages come together. With fan-favourite track ‘Brazil’ everyone came together.
Before the anticipated encore, the sound certainly seemed to bellow with insane guitar riffs only pleating the audience to request more. “We can’t leave you like that” Declan announces swiftly walking back onstage. With utter surprise the band play ‘Monkeys Gone to Heaven’ by Pixies. At this point, it had the crowd hysterical and by the end of this adrenaline-filled performance, Declan had fallen into the hot, sweaty pool of clammy kids.
Words by Lauren McDermott and Laviea Thomas
Photography by Lauren McDermott