Throughout their first couple of songs, I couldn’t stop myself drawing comparisons to Yellowcard, Kids In Glass Houses and Deaf Havana – meaning that this support slot was a match made in heaven – but for their last three songs they really stepped up their game and played their best songs one after the other. The contrast between the speedy and hooking and the slow and melancholic ‘If She’s The Rope’ was bravely done, but their risk definitely paid off because showing a range like that this early in a career is astounding. Final song ‘Empires’ kicked it up into the highest gear of the entire set, and with a bit of crowd participation on the “oh, oh, ohs” it showed that the band had converted some people into fans by the end of their half an hour slot. After proclaiming “we have been The Gospel Youth. We are not a Christian rock band, we are far from that!” and going on to perform a song with the repeated lyric “sing hallelujah” it seemed a bit ironic, but it stuck in my head all the more so for that.
With a voice that sounds like the British edition of Cody Carson, Sam Little really gives this band something to make them stand out in the UK scene. After hearing him do an impromptu rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for a fan after the show his voice is as spectacular – if not more – in a closer vicinity. However, even with such an amazing vocalist the rest of the band still shined throughout the set, with riffs weaving through the songs that hint towards the grand ambitions the band must have for themselves. The musical risks that they’re taking at this stage of their existence points towards magical goings on in the future.
Setlist: (H.L.B might not be right, but the rest of the setlist is correct. Apologies!)
If She’s The Rope
This was my fifth time seeing Deaf Havana, and only my second time seeing a headline show, but their performance was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t actively listen to Deaf Havana much – there’s no reason why, it just seems to keep slipping my mind – but every time I see them in a room like this it just blows my mind how brilliant they are.
Starting off with an alternative version of ‘The Past Six Years’ that was much more Mumford and Sons than Deaf Havana was a genius move – many people didn’t recognise the song instantly, but as soon as they saw what the band was doing it got the crowd so much more excited. With vocalist James Veck-Gilodi playing a tambourine throughout ‘I Will Try’, it definitely cemented how eclectic the show was going to be – this is not a band who are happy to disappoint, and for their first show in 2015 it had to be something remarkable.
This wasn’t a typical Deaf Havana show, and you could tell how much thought and effort they’d put in to their first show in eight months. Someone else who had obviously been putting in the effort was stand-in drummer Craig Reynolds, who was astounding. Permanent drummer Tom Ogden has taken a brief hiatus from the band to spend time with his wife and new daughter, so Craig had to learn 16 songs in three days, and by how flawlessly he drummed on each and every single song, it’s obvious that they picked the right man for the job. James told everyone how disappointed Tom was to be missing the shows, how he “was adamant he wanted to play these shows” but after his wife had to have a cesarean there wasn’t really another option for him. However, there were a poignant few minutes towards the end of the set when the band face-timed him, getting the crowd to scream “oggy, oggy, oggy” and announcing “we love you, we miss you, see you soon”.
I’m interested to know what you think of ‘Trigger’, and how excited you are about where Deaf Havana will go with their new album – I definitely think it’s going to be their best, and I’m highly anticipating it. If you have any thoughts, please leave them down in the comments!
With the knowledge that Deaf Havana nearly didn’t make it through 2014, it’s amazing that they’ve come back from so close to the edge to perform a show like this to so many loyal fans. Boos echoed around the room when they shared the fact that they’d considered quitting, and going by the reaction I don’t think this is a band anyone will be happy to lose any time soon. I’m definitely going to be listening to them more – I can’t believe I left it so long! I certainly cannot wait for the new album – it’s going to be a new era for these guys, and I think it’s going to be bigger than ever before.
The Past Six Years (alternative version)
I Will Try
I’m A Bore, Mostly
Smiles All Round
Kings Road Ghosts
Trigger (new song)
Friends Like These (alternative version)
The World Or Nothing
Mildred (Lost A Friend)