The Student News Site of Xaverian College


The Student News Site of Xaverian College


The Student News Site of Xaverian College


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March 14, 2022

Declan McKenna: The wildest and wackiest of indie pop performances 

Martha Davies

This past half term holiday Declan McKenna graced the main stage at Temple Newsam Park for the Live at Leeds festival. As soon as he stepped foot into the drizzle, the crowd went wild. 

His opening track ‘Why Do You Feel So Down’ from his first album ‘What Do You Think About the Car’ (which he released to great critical acclaim at the age of 18) was greeted by a cacophony of cheers as the crowd began to sing and jump in formation.  

One festival goer exclaimed: ‘He’s hypnotic: as soon as he steps onto the stage and picks up his guitar, he gives the crowd a look and they just start jumping’ 

One of the brightest names in the indie genre followed this up with the upbeat ‘Sympathy’ which is met with complete adoration and joy from the vast, writhing crowd. 

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Following this, McKenna intertwines his second studio album ‘Zeros’ with the setlist and plays the opening riff of ‘The Key to Life on Earth’. 

Moving through the setlist, McKenna introduces some of his new album ‘What Happened to the Beach’ by playing the hits ‘Elevator Hum’, ‘Mezzanine’ and ‘Mullholland’s Dinner and Wine’. Ordinarily the slower, mellower instrumentals and riffs would serve to calm the rabble of ravenous festival goers, but not this time. 

McKenna flips back to the jump-inducing tracks with ‘Nothing Works’. Combined with the vibrant, kaleidoscopic visuals, it becomes clear that he knows what his crowd wants and will not hesitate to provide it for them.  

As many would be aware, it isn’t a Declan McKenna show without the Tik Tok viral tune ‘Brazil’ recognisable immediately from its opening melody. The deafening cheers follow as people are lifted on their shoulders and screaming voices overpower the singer. 

Surely that must be the last track. But no! The fan favourite and politically charged ‘British Bombs’ is still to come. A fiery, anti-war track that highlights the irony in the choices democratic governments make selling weapons to countries with dubious human rights records. It is clearly the pinnacle of McKenna’s set as his band completely lets go and drags the crowd with them. The ensuing mosh-pits surge forward to the catchy and addictive beat ‘Great Britain won’t stand for felons/ Great British bombs in the Yemen’.  

After watching one of his all-consuming performances, you can’t deny why the name Declan McKenna has been dubbed by many as the voice of a generation.  





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