Norfolk band Deaf Havana, formed in 2005, have changed their style considerably over the years, going from pop-punk to a more alternative rock. The line-up has also changed, not least going from a three piece to a five piece, with the introduction of keyboards and piano which have given them a softer side.
Supporting Deaf Havana were Decade and Black Foxxes. Five-piece Decade came across passionately, particularly guitarist Joe Marriner, and took me back to my youth seeing up-and-coming acts at my local rock club. Three-piece Black Foxxes released their debut album I’m Not Well last year and, although heavier, are influenced by Neil Young and Dave Grohl. Overall they put in a good performance, which became more polished and dynamic as it went along. My one complaint is that their bass drum was distractingly loud.
Deaf Havana opened their show with two songs from their current album All These Countless Nights (Fever and Sing) before going into Mildred from Old Souls, which had fans clapping along. The set continued with a mix of old and new tracks including fan favourite Hunstanton Pier, Seattle and Boston Square.
Vocalist James Veck-Gilodi and guitarist (and James’ brother) Matthew Veck-Gilodi have a real charisma on stage. Matty decided to wear a florescent orange turtle neck for our entertainment, saying to James ‘Can you see me now?’ and James replied ‘I can’t hear you over that monstrosity!’ James commented several times that this was ‘the most fun show of the tour’ and I was impressed that the band seemed to be genuinely humbled by the support from fans, even saying they had been worried that no one would show up.
For two songs – Like a Ghost and Pensacola, 2013 – Deaf Havana performed the versions from the re-worked bonus CD of All These Countless Nights. Digressing from the live show for just a moment, the re-worked CD, which now comes with some copies of All These Countless Nights, is probably my favourite record of 2017; so if you haven’t heard it I’d thoroughly recommend checking it out. The tracks are more acoustic which brings out the emotion, with some electronics added and some tunes rearranged in a different style.
The sound at the venue wasn’t great, coming across quite tinny. The mixing got better as the set went on (the drums were a bit loud at the start and the vocals a bit quiet), however everyone did well to work with this. Guitar technician Kyle did a stellar job of keeping everything in tune, both for Deaf Havana and Black Foxxes.
The penultimate song of the main set was Pretty Low which James described as ‘my favourite song I’ve ever written’. It has an effective guitar riff which continues throughout the song and some reflective lyrics — ‘I’ve got myself to blame for losing all over again’. The final song before the encore, Caro Padre, gave James the chance to show off his lead guitar skills (in the early days of Deaf Havana he was the guitarist rather than lead vocalist), and the crowd had a chance to show off their vocal skills as everyone was singing along.
The band closed the whole show with Anemophobia Part II which they said is ‘arguably our most miserable song’ but it was the best performance of the set instrumentally and I can see why they saved it until last.
- Times Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn’t Stop for Anybody
- Hunstanton Pier
- Like a Ghost (Reworked version)
- Pensacola, 2013 (Reworked version)
- Pretty Low
- Caro Padre
- Boston Square
- Anemophobia Part II
Reviewer: Chrissie Duxson