Sets in Review: Artists Chappell Roan and Declan McKenna Hit High Dive
I was not sure what to expect from the Declan McKenna’s tour with Chappell Roan. I only knew a few of McKenna’s more popular songs and had never seen either perform live. But, I was blown away with both singers performances, and I could tell I was not the only one. You could hear lingering murmurs through the audience after each songs about Roan’s hauntingly beautiful voice is or how entertaining McKenna is to watch.
Waiting in the half-filled High Dive in downtown Gainesville for Chappell Roan to take the stage on Saturday, February 10, I did not know what to expect when the performer took the stage. But, the cramped room of teenagers waiting for the headliner Declan McKenna were soon treated to a breathtaking performance by Roan.
Hailing from a small town in Missouri, Roan has an indie-pop sound. With a voice range similar to Lorde or Lana Del Rey, Chappell Roan has a unique voice that is refreshing and simply beautiful to listen to. Her live performance sounded exactly like her EP, which shows her sheer talent in singing. She also played piano for several songs, showing her versatility.
When Roan took the stage, you could tell she was nervous. After her first song she had to take a break to take her Invisalign out, making the audience laugh. But, for a seemingly nervous young performer, Roan’s voice showed no quiver or mistakes. In each song, she hit the notes consistently and gave the audience a upbeat and engaging performance to watch.
She performed her EP, “School Nights,” which is available for streaming and downloading. She also played several new songs and a cover of the Cranberries song “Dreams.”
One new song that I really enjoyed was “Lavish,” which she said is one of her favorite songs that she has written.
I briefly spoke with Roan after the show and she said she really enjoys touring with Declan and his team, even though it can be very tiring at times. She also said that Declan and his team are fun to work with, which makes touring easier.
After Chappell Roan performed, Declan McKenna and his band took the stage. Declan jumped around the staged, played guitar and joked around with his band. This gave the venue a different vibe from Roan, who had been more relaxed.
My favorite songs of McKenna’s are “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” and “Why Do You Feel So Down.” Both of these are more popular than some of other work, but it is easy to tell why. Both are very upbeat and just fun songs to listen to, so the crowd screamed and danced to both songs.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching McKenna perform, but at times I felt he and his band jammed too long for songs that were not necessary to drag it out. But, like Roan, he sounded just like he does on his albums.
I was surprised that McKenna has such a large following in the area. The venue had slowly become packed as he began his set and everyone seemed to know and love his songs. Many also brought him bouquets of flowers that they passed to him on stage. Overall, I felt both performers did a fantastic job and made a party out of the small venue and crowd.