Live Review: Declan McKenna & Feet - Koko, London 03/11/2017
Sweat, crowd surfs, mosh pits, glitter and confetti perfectly summarises a Declan McKenna show. With a full venue, KOKO anticipated Declan’s appearance for his biggest London headline show. As he elegantly comes into the light, his musicianship and confidence shines, going beyond his years as he brings sophistication and vibrance to the stage; it is sure to be an exciting night.
First to take the stage was 5-piece ‘Feet’ who proved themselves to be a captivating and energetic band well worth a listen. As they frantically throw themselves around stage, a punchy raw sound is created alongside a hard-hitting drums and bass. The young crowd seemed to gag for more as they scream and shout- some knowing every word and names of individual band members. With a unique sense of style, these guys seemed to bring something different. With a huge connection with the crowd and youthful exuberance beyond belief, it was a cracking start the show.
For such a new artist, Declan McKenna has quickly gained a vast following, which becomes clear as opener ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ sends the room crazy. There was something heartening about hearing an audience, made up predominantly of hundreds of the younger generation, singing back his politically-charged lyrics. As soon as the intro started everyone shouted word for word “I don’t know what I want, if I’m completely honest / I guess I could start a war, I guess I could sleep on it”.
Sounds bellow around the glorious venue as glittered McKenna and his band tore through hit after hit. Stretching his raw vocal range, there is no limit to the setlist. Alongside an acoustic guitar ’Humongous’ builds up until it’s, well, humongous, filled with quirky riffs he sings, “Do you care? / I’m big, humongous, enormous and small / and it’s not fair that I am nothing and nobody’s there”. Following, groovy ‘Isombard’ shows McKenna enthused vocals even more as the adrenaline rush given off spreads to form a quicker paced crowd.
New material ‘Why Do You Feel So Down?’ is much like others with a catchy, compelling track, capturing what McKenna does best. His lyrics always posses strong meaning, which is surprisingly refreshing. However, nothing compares to his rapturously-received songs ‘Paracetamol’ and ‘Brazil’.
Ending with a stage-dive, Declan was almost transported off on a sea of hands ending in glitter glory. With a brief encore, the sombre ’Listen To Your Friends’ is a surefire highlight and touching ending to an vigorous evening with Declan showcasing his socio-political awareness in a rallying spoken word interlude.
Review and Photography by Lauren McDermott