Last night The Garage in Burnsville, was treated to quite the performance from English singer-song writer Declan McKenna. “What Do You Think About the Car?” is McKenna’s debut album and tour with stops all over the U.K. and the U.S.A. This will be his second time performing in Twin Cities area.
I pulled up to The Garage shortly after six thinking I’d get there before doors at six thirty. To my surprise about two hundred fans were already waiting. Each fan had their own unique way of expressing themselves. I chatted with several while I waited for the doors. “We have been here for almost two ours,” Mason was fourth in line with his friend Adam, “Buts the wait is worth it.” The doors promptly opened at six thirty and a surge of people pushed forward. The venue was very organized and quick with entry. Around seven I had made my way to the doors, I could already here the mellow thumping of Chappell Roan’s “Die Young”, a song I could pick out anywhere.
Chappell Roan grew up in the small town of Willard, Missouri and like many she tried to test her luck on America’s Got Talent. She didn’t make but that didn’t stop her. Chappell continued to pursue her singing career. Born Kayleigh Rose, she started performing around her home town and later made her way to New York City where she was taking part in major showcases. Those New York showcases paid off big time. Chappell signed with Atlantic Records as junior in high school. The summer of 2017 proved to be worth the wait as her debut single, a fan favorite, “Good Hurt” hit the airwaves.
The set was simple but that’s all you need when you have a captivating voice like Roan. On stage with the Missouri native was guitarist Martin Sulkow. Roan and Sulkow paths didn’t cross until last August when the two joined forces opening for Vance Joy. The guitarist started playing in his middle school days. Anyone can tell he has a passion for music by the way he lets himself get lost in the moment.
The audience instantly fell for the lively way Roan spoke about her music and her forgetfulness. The Garage was given a first listen to her new song “School Nights”, which is due out this Friday March 16. Early Tuesday morning Chappell appeared on Fox 9 Morning News. “I was singing and then I forgot the words to my own song…that’s the third time its happened!” Roan jokes. When it came for the closing song fans wanted more and luckily Chappell gave them just that by meeting fans at the end of night.
After a quick set change Declan McKenna and his band emerged from the dark and the crowd lost it. I was shoulder to shoulder with the ladies next to me, each one filled with excitement. “Good evening, are you having a good time?” McKenna took a moment to speak to everyone, “I was tempted to walk on stage with the small 225 ml cans of Sprite and be like “Hello Minne-Soda! I just decided it wasn’t very funny.” His bad dad joke earned small pity laughs from the audience. His joke then led into “Humongous” followed by “Isombard.”
Declan then revealed to his fans, “Isombard is actually my real name. My name is not Declan…put that one on Wikipedia.” With every song the audiences’ energy grew. As the first chord was struck for “Why Do You Feel So Down”, crew member tossed multiple colored balloons in to the crowd. They flew back and forth as he sung about feels blue as if to add a reason to be happy.
The balloons kept up their dance as McKenna broke out into what was clearly the fan favorite, “Brazil”. Everyone was singing along and jumping the rhythm. To close out the set Declan dove head first into the pit, the room screeching with excitement. It had been awhile since I have attended such an intimate show like this one. No one was having a dull time, every person I came across was very sweet and open to conversation. Declan has a way of making everyone feel like he is talking to a close group of friends, instead of a room full of strangers. Declan continues his tour as he makes his way across the U.S. showcase his debut album “What Do You Think About the Car?”. The next time Declan McKenna rolls through town I expected him to be at a much larger venue.