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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Review: Declan McKenna concludes U.S. leg of ‘Zeros’ tour with a bang — literally

Photo courtesy Sony Music Labels Inc

By Andrea Plascencia     10/25/22 9:55pm

Rating: ★★★★½

What I anticipated to be a concert full of unfamiliar fans — myself included (though I hate to admit it) — ended up being quite the opposite. “Brazil” singer Declan McKenna made his final stop on the U.S. leg of his “Zeroes” tour this past Thursday at Warehouse Live here in Houston. The night began with confused fans packed into a separate part of the venue because “soundcheck was taking longer than expected,” and concluded with fans cheering as McKenna completely demolished his guitar on stage during the final song in his set, “British Bombs.” 

McKenna’s opening act was originally announced as Annie Dirusso, but she was not the opening act for the Houston show. Instead, a band by the name of Casino AM stumbled onto the Warehouse Live stage last minute and played their set — a compilation of songs which I do not recall (and which I’m pretty confident were primarily covers). Casino AM, at least according to their Spotify page, is a relatively new band “fresh out of Austin, Texas.” As for their set, I found it relatively unamusing; there was nothing particularly exciting or “fresh” about their style, but hopefully their future projects contradict that. After all, they only have three songs. 

After much anticipation, McKenna finally took the stage at around 9:30 p.m. He began his set from behind the stage, with a brief cover of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” (a pleasant surprise for fans). Finally, McKenna walked out and jumped straight into the first song of his sophomore album, “You Better Believe!!!” — an energetic and wonderfully fitting first tune to mark the tour’s end. He proceeded to sing “Zeroes,” the album after which the tour was named, in its entirety as he’d promised via his Instagram story earlier that day. 

As someone who (shamefully so) had only listened to the first six tracks two days before the show, hearing “Zeroes” live and in its entirety was incredibly exhilarating. The audience was crammed together like sardines in a can, but the experience was borderline religious — partially because of how lovely the energy was, and partially because people had their hands outstretched in the air  like they were worshiping McKenna. I guess they were. 

The most chilling moment (in the best possible way) of the night was definitely hearing the opening chords to “Brazil.” Yes, this is McKenna’s most popular song — on TikTok and in general — but nevertheless, hearing the song live made for a wonderful full-circle moment for fans both new and old. 

All in all, McKenna put on an unforgettable show with palpable energy from the singer and the crowd. If this is him tired, as he claimed in an Instagram post earlier that day, I cannot imagine what kind of performance we would’ve witnessed if he’d been well-rested. To redeem myself for not being familiar with his music, I am now in the process of exploring the ins and outs of a terribly slept-on discography.

Oh, and I also had the incredible opportunity of meeting him after the show. I hope that, per my suggestion, he got to try Whataburger: he deserves it. 

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