Declan McKenna @ Leadmill
Despite all the hype that has slowly been accumulating over the past few years, Declan McKenna, on occasion, has failed to offer an insight into how he could possibly take his live shows and musical output to a higher level. Far too many artists are unable to make the jump to larger venues and find themselves joining a list of highly promising bands who sadly could not crack the industry.
Last night’s Sheffield show was an indicator that young McKenna doesn’t plan on being thrown in the gutter and is set on climbing the musical ladder. The live performances have had their energy ramped up a notch, with McKenna throwing himself into the crowd at will; a world away from static renditions of yesteryear. The songs are delicately crafted and lyrically solid, and those that may appear softer on record are given a gritty brush up when performed. ‘Isombard’ and ‘Humongous’ are highlights of a streamlined set, which included a festive rendition of Ray Parker Jr.’s ‘Ghostbusters’.
While he has always been a confident figure, he has now moulded himself into an accomplished performer. Although it remains to be seen how much higher he can go, the 18-year-old is showing no signs of letting up and his refreshing take on politically-driven pop music should be left to thrive and nurture.