Entertainment, Manchester

Declan McKenna @ Gorilla, Manchester

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By Sam Gosling


When 18-year-old Declan Mckenna announced his first tour, Manchester’s Gorilla venue seemed like the ideal space to showcase this talented musician’s ability.

Dark and dingy but effortlessly cool, Gorilla has gained a reputation as one of Manchester’s best small gig venues and, with its friendly staff and fantastic sound, visitors can see why.

Declan came to the stage at 9pm dressed in a white jumpsuit with glitter on his face and looked cool and ready to perform at what he said was his “biggest headline show to date.”

He started the show by firing off a glitter gun into the crowd, then picked up his guitar and went straight into one of his strongest songs ‘Isombard’. The young crowd hung on his every word and he held them with a maturity of somebody much older and more seasoned.

Mckenna has had a meteoric rise in the last two or three years. Since he won Glastonbury’s emerging talent contest in 2015, the young Hertfordshire singer’s career has been a whirlwind. Armed with his guitar and his band of very talented musicians, he has been touring the country supporting artists such as Blossoms, and performing at festivals such as Kendal calling, Latitude, Field Day and, of course, Glastonbury.

The set was littered with new songs from his new album What do you think about the car?, which is being produced by the legendary James Ford. His sound has a maturity to it that is way beyond his years and he can certainly hold a stage.

Fan favourites ‘Paracetamol’, ‘The Kids don’t wanna come home’, ‘Basic’, and ‘Brew’ were all played but the pinnacle moment was when he played the critically acclaimed ‘Brazil’ and everyone sang along. He ended the night with a couple of stage dives and left the stage leaving us wanting more.

I went to this gig expecting to like it but what I did not expect was to leave as a huge fan and with a feeling that I had just witnessed the birth of something very special. Comparisons have been made to Jamie T, Jake Bugg and even the legendary Jeff Buckley but Declan has his own sound and to compare him to any of those would be unfair.

I am certain that Declan Mckenna will be a household name in the next few years and he will deserve everything that comes his way.

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