REVIEW: Declan McKenna + Girli | Heaven

Declan McKenna soars on his own headline UK tour after a very successful supporting slot with Blossoms last year, filling out Heaven nightclub with his own crowd of largely 14-21 year olds.


McKenna’s youthfulness shines through in his light-hearted and fun persona on stage, with upbeat high standard songs proving him to be at the forefront of the emerging artist scene.


Declan’s glitter-coated set however didn’t distract from his voice, his raw, old school rock vocals really taking over the room. His set consisted of tracks mainly from his upcoming album to be released this summer, including new singles ‘Humungous’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home,’ – a track with millions of plays across all streaming sites, probably because of the truthfulness of the track all young people can relate to, discussing a young person’s struggles today in the current political climate, lyrics “Maybe I can start a war, maybe I can sleep on it.”


McKenna’s brilliant unruliness was highlighted when he crowd-surfed his young fans. Definitely at the height of the energy in the room, McKenna’s obvious adrenaline on stage was admirable. His personality showed more on stage than it had ever before, possibly because this was his own headline tour, and he definitely had a whole new level of comfort on stage from when I first saw him opening for Blossoms, interacting with his fans and his band.


Though older popular hits ‘Isombard’ and ‘Bethlehem’ were also played, the newer tracks showcase a whole new level of talent now unlocked within Declan, with interesting song topics, advanced musicality, and vocal top lines really making for much bolder songs which I think will take McKenna to the next level, crossing him over from emerging artist to well on his way to the mainstream indie-pop.


Innovative artist Girli opened the night. Known for her neon-pink and feminist themes, Girli had one of the most captivating performances I’ve seen in a while. Girli embraces stereotypes and uses them to rebel, something only the most intelligent artists can pull off. What I mean by that is, there aren’t that many artists that can ask a 2,000 strong audience ‘Who’s on their period tonight?’ and make it WORK! She used technology to it’s height, with everything from tetris-like introductions to synths to accompany her rap-singing combo songs. Favourites of mine were ‘Girl I Met on the Internet’ and ‘Girls Get Angry Too,’ accurately dubbing herself a "Samurai Princess."


Girli and Declan together made for an awesome night of new music from the most brave and exciting players in the music industry right now, and we can’t wait to see them take over, and change, the world!