Deaf Havana recently released their fourth studio album, which reached the top 5 of the UK album charts. For a band that came from such humble beginnings, that started off with a completely different sound, one that wasn’t remotely radio friendly, to them, this is a big deal. A REALLY big deal.
Deaf Havana are not a band that are used to such high praise and attention. Rave reviews of All These Countless Nights, more mainstream radio play than ever before, old fans, loyal fans, new fans, all flocking towards them is something new. Something new that they haven’t fully learnt how to process, but this only makes for a more heartwarming and emotion-filled show in tonight’s Bristol o2 Academy.
Young and upcoming five-piece DEAD! kick off the evening with an energy that only a group of 21 year olds could possess. It’s actually admirable. Rather than the typical nerves and awkward stage presence that you’d be presented with by musicians of this age, they are confident, professional and hold a special quality that not even bands with a lengthy career have.
Dinosaur Pile-Up stroll on stage next. They’re no strangers to filling up an academy sized venue with their grunge-like sound. ‘White T-Shirt and Jeans’ unforgettable chorus simultaneously leaves you feeling nostalgic and reminiscent, but hopeful about the future, particularly about Dinosaur Pile-Up’s career, and the stamp they’ll make for British music. Meanwhile ’11:11’s distinctive rhythmic element acts as a catalyst for fans to get rowdy. If Bristol wasn’t ready for Deaf Havana before, they certainly are now.
An ordinary introduction of dimmed lights and generic backing track welcomes Deaf Havana to the stage, but already, this is an indication of a no-nonsense, no-gimmicks, just pure talent approach that they’ve opted to go down.
The beginning of their set, ‘Ashes to Ashes’, followed by ‘Trigger’ is a reflection of their new album. A representation of new beginnings and a comparatively more positive approach to their music; a total juxtaposition to the following song, ‘I’m a Bore, Mostly’. It’s apparent even appearance-wise, the band willingly exerting smiles and newly found contagious stage presence.
It’s not until we hear brothers, Matt and James Veck-Gilodi, converse that we realise James’ nasal passages are blocked and voice is coarse. You’d think, musically, this would be a major disadvantage but it seems have the opposite effect. The ability to reach those strong, near-falsetto notes without a struggle, against the faultless tenor notes with an illness that usual hinders this beyond impressive, shining a light on an undeniable talent that he possesses.
What brings the biggest smile to the faces is the fact that, despite only being unleashed into the public for three weeks, the crowd knows word for word songs to album tracks like ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Happiness’, potentially more so than older material. It brings a hopefulness to their future. An indication that the public are willing to pay more attention, invest more time and really see the true meaning of Deaf Havana.
They feel it too. A controversial choice to close on more new tracks, ‘Sing’ and ‘Pensacola 2013’, are indicative of their optimism of their future. Whilst Sing epitomises this, ‘Pensacola 2013’ is slightly more melancholic. They close on the juxtaposition they started with, as though trying to portray the idea that a different album doesn’t necessarily mean the same band.
A fourth album often means nearing the end of a career but this is certainly not the case for Deaf Havana. They’ve got a long but exciting road ahead of them.