With the release of ‘All These Countless Nights’, Deaf Havana take their highest charting album to date on the road, stopping off at what has become the closest to a hometown show the Norfolk five-piece have. The UEA LCR provides the hall for tonight performance, and amidst the chaos of gale force winds and heavy rain, a healthy and enthusiastic queue builds. Tours like this are important for British rock music and with three homegrown bands on the bill, the evening is already full of promise.
Those down early are treated to a performance from DEAD!, a band far beyond their years. Hailing from the nation’s capital, they take the stage to a half-full room but attack every song with real heart and energy. Although plagued by early sound issues, they soldier on as they smash through 30 minutes of hard-hitting riffs, soaring harmonies and the happiest drummer to ever sit behind a kit. “We are a band called DEAD! but we’re here to make you feel alive” states frontman Alex Mountford, and with a sound reminiscent of Brand New and Simple Plan, they sure do that and in style. (3.5/5)
As Dinosaur Pile-Up takes to the stage a surge of people fills the room. Unfortunately, from the onset, they are unable to match the energy levels of their predecessors. Better sound and clear experience does help elevate them, but there seems to be some distance between the band and a crowd, who clearly just want Deaf Havana to hurry up and take to the stage. This doesn’t stop the grunge rock onslaught synonymous with the Leeds three-piece. The response is varied but largely this feels like a rather stale performance from a staple of the UK post-grunge scene. (2.5/5)
As the lights dim the crowd are whipped into a frenzy in eager anticipation. Violins fill the room as Deaf Havana bound on stage and launch into the opening two tracks from their latest album (‘Ashes, Ashes’ and ‘Trigger’). It’s clear they are visibly overwhelmed by the singalongs on even the newest material. Although suffering from the dreaded cold, brothers James and Matt Veck-Gilodi lead both band and audience through a set encompassing all that Deaf Havana have become renowned for over their tenure at the forefront of the British rock scene.
Due to some formulaic songwriting and periods between songs where they seemed almost flustered, they risked losing some of the crowd but with the arrival of sing-along favourite ‘Hunstanton Pier’ had everyone’s full attention for the end of their set.
It is worth taking note of energetic live guitarist, Matt Veck-Gilodi, as he shows talent must run in the family with a heartfelt rendition of ‘Mildred’. While songs such as ‘Sing’, ‘Boston Square’ and ‘The Past Six Years’ shine in a live arena.
Having been criticised for his vocal performances in the past, a decidedly more sober James Veck-Gilodi soared proving why he is highly regarded amongst the best rock vocalists. Couple this with an almost flawless performance from the rest of the band and it really seems as though Deaf Havana are back and ready to cement themselves as one of the UK’s premier live acts. (4/5)
Words by Jay Harrison (@Just_Jay_89)