Declan McKenna, Concorde 2 (31/05/2017)

Up and coming indie-rock sensation Declan McKenna played a triumphant show at Brighton’s Concorde 2, on the 31st May 2017. Girli (an energetic, feminist artist, with a sound vaguely reminiscent of a young Charli XCX with a Ke$ha edge) played a support set worthy of a headline act and managed to get the whole crowd engaged.

Declan McKenna- clad in the most fabulous American flag leggings, over laying pinafore and made-up, glittered face- brought his charming (and extremely significant) political tunes to a receptive Brighton audience. He opened with crowd favourite ‘Isombard’, which was met with dancing amongst the packed out audience, before seamlessly blending into ‘Bethlehem’. McKenna and his touring band played a selection of crowd-known hits, including ‘Basic’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’, as well as ‘Paracetamol’, a poignant song which draws on audience reflection.

McKenna also played a selection of songs from his upcoming debut album, What Do You Think About The Car? McKenna has debuted tracks such as ‘Make Me Your Queen’, ‘Listen to Your Friends’ and ‘Why Do You Feel So Down?’ on this tour, all of which were enjoyed by the eager audience. McKenna played his latest single ‘Humungous’, which got the crowd singing along, with its catchy chorus, despite it only being days since its official debut. The already sweaty, packed out crowd danced all evening to what shaped up to be a career defining set.

McKenna ended the set with Brazil 2014 World Cup protest song, ‘Brazil’, which helped the 18-year-old win Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent competition in 2015. The song was played to a sea of confetti filled balloons (as McKenna couldn’t find any confetti cannons) bouncing on top of an already bouncing audience. He left the stage to huge applause.

There’s always a sense of protest, of teenage rebellion, of revolution at a Declan McKenna show, something which most gimmicky pop gigs lack. Yes, there’s confetti and glitter galore, but it’s not a gimmick. It’s a statement. At 18, McKenna voices a generation and I can’t wait to see where it takes him, especially after the release of the album in late July. Watch this space. It’s definitely his time to shine.

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Declan McKenna, Concorde 2 (31/05/2017)

Rat Boy- Concorde 2, Brighton, 07/05/2016

On Saturday the 7th May 2016 Essex’s Rat Boy- AKA Jordan Cardy- finished his UK tour by playing Brighton’s Concorde 2. He was supported by NYC’s energetic Skaters and Cosmo Pyke. Rat Boy were one of my “ones to watch in 2016”.

I’ve been looking forward to Rat Boy’s headline tour since seeing him play at Banquet Records last year and at Reading Festival. I also saw him support The 1975 at the Brighton Centre back in November last year, where his wild antics got seemingly lost in the (mostly perplexed) crowd. This tour has been far from the tame crowds of last year’s The 1975 concert… There’s been security pulling them off stage by their chains and their London show at the Electric Brixton having to be pulled by the venue as a result of Cardy literally getting into the crowd (bear in mind this is the first time they’ve ever had to do this).

Even before Rat Boy started there was an air of hysteria and excitement. When Jordan and co came on stage, wearing caricature masks of themselves and Jordan’s artwork, and burst into latest single “Move”, the crowd literally began to move and didn’t stop for a further hour and a bit. There were people jumping, “moshing”, stage invading, limply attempting to crowd surf, and some guy was literally wrestled ferociously by security out of the venue- it was certainly quite entertaining to watch.

They showcased an array of new songs, like “Hanging Round”, within a few familiar favourites, like “Wasteman” and “Left For Dead”. They followed this by playing a short two song encore featuring “Sign on” and “Fake ID”, which left the crowd in a hot and sweaty state. At this point- when everyone (including the band) her presumed the concert had finished- Jordan decided to play “Move” again because a) it was the end of the tour and b) why not?

Overall, it was a great concert in one of Brighton’s greatest hidden, little venues. It was hot and sweaty and fuelled with teenage enthusiasm. Jordan and co look as though they’re having the time of their lives and I eagerly anticipate an album in the future, as well as seeing them conquer various festivals throughout the festival season.

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Rat Boy- Concorde 2, Brighton, 07/05/2016

Swim Deep- Concorde 2, Brighton 21/10/2015

Last Wednesday (21/10/2015), Birmingham band Swim Deep played Concorde 2, in Brighton, ahead of their headline show at the Roundhouse, in London, the following night. They played a set full of new songs, from their latest album Mothers  (released earlier this month), and songs from their first record “Where the Heaven Are We”. They were supported by Scottish band “Catholic Action” and “The Magic Gang” who were from Brighton themselves. The support acts were perfect in warming up the crowd and are definitely worth checking out.

I’ve seen Swim Deep a few times this year at various festivals and again at Banquet Records earlier this month but this was my first Swim Deep headlining gig and it was everything I could have hoped for. I love how they craft each setlist to appeal to a certain audience or place.

They opened with “Namaste” from their latest album, Mothers. It’s an upbeat and up-tempo song which made the long waiting crowd excited for an evening of incredible live music. They played other songs from Mothers too including “Grand Affection”, “Forever Spaceman” and eight minute long “Fueiho Boogie”- which is mostly instrumental and showed the bands incredibly skilled instrumental talents. Additional instruments like keyboards, synthesisers and even maracas were used in order to create complex and interesting songs throughout the gig.

As well as this, the band played songs from “Where the Heaven Are We”, the band’s first album. They played songs like “Honey” (my favourite Swim Deep song), “King City” and “Fransisco” which created a buzzing atmosphere among the audience and caused a wave of singing and dancing within the crowd as the audience were familiar with these songs.

There was also an encore. They played three songs: “Laniakea” (which they’d only played a few times before- one of which was at Banquet Records), “She Changes the Weather” and closed with “To My Brother”. These songs were brilliant live with a full band and the audience were involved by singing and dancing along with Williams (lead singer) and the rest of the band.

Overall the evening was amazing. One of the best concerts I’ve been to in a while as it was incredible being in a crowd who danced and jumped the whole night whilst belting the lyrics along with Austin Williams. It was nice to see the full band perform songs from the new album and experience a full Swim Deep show. It was a fun, feel-good set full of enthusiasm and synthy tunes. I’d definitely see them again and recommend them to anyone!

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Swim Deep- Concorde 2, Brighton 21/10/2015