Following the success of their latest album All These Countless Nights, we were invited along to the O2 Academy in Bristol to catch UK alt-pop-rockers Deaf Havana on the UK leg of their European tour, we arrived early as we’d planned to meet up with Matthew & Tom from the band to have a chat, you can read the full interview in our 'Intro' section soon.
There were three acts on the bill this evening, DEAD!, followed by Dinosaur Pile-Up and then Deaf Havana, I was familiar with DPU already and got a little bit excited as I’ve seen these guys a number of times over the past 7 years, the last time being at Boardmasters in Newquay in August 2016.
We shuffled into the venue ahead of the opening act taking to the stage, got set up and waited for the fun and frolics to begin. It was great to see the venue so busy, it was after all a cold Monday night in the heart of Bristol, just goes to show that Deaf Havana have a strong, loyal fanbase who are more than happy to come out on a school night to support them!
DEAD! Took to the stage on time and proceeded to light a fire on stage that set the scene for the remainder of the night, full of energy and passion. They played some solid tracks with great guitar work and the vocalist did a great job of keeping the capacity crowd on its toes throughout their set.
Up next was Dinosaur Pile-Up, an act that I have had the pleasure of seeing on a number of occasions and every time, they never failed to deliver. Their songs sounded immense, booming through the quality PA at the O2 Academy in Bristol and the audience really latched on to them. It wasn’t long until the pit started to get a bit lively and I was thankful that I had decided to retire to the balcony for a birds eye view of the stage when my time was up in the photo pit. They ended their set with an amazing track called 11:11 which is the title track of their latest long player, for anyone who has NOT yet had the pleasure, I suggest you make this your next purchase, you won’t be disappointed!
Finally the moment the fans were waiting for, the return of Deaf Havana after an absence in which the band were close to splitting. They’ve come back stronger than ever and the crowd showed their appreciation with a rapturous reception as they took to the stage. Having seen them five times previously I know they're well supported and always put on a high energy show.
They kicked off with "Ashes, Ashes" and "Trigger", the opening two tracks off the new top 5 album All These Countless Nights, raising the excitement levels in the room to almost fever pitch. This was swiftly followed by old favourites "I’m a Bore, Mostly" and "Leeches" which should have contained a warning for flashing images with its excellent light show accompaniment.
Lead singer James Veck-Gilodi was struggling with a cold and his voice was suffering so he called upon the crowd to help him out, which they emphatically did. The passion was plain to see and this new lease of life for Deaf Havana shows no sign of stopping. They claim they’re going to do it ‘properly’ this time and you could tell they were really enjoying themselves on stage, giving it everything.
Crowd favourites "22" and "Mildred" went down a storm and during "The Past Six Years", the mid song pause led to louder and louder screams that made the hairs on your neck stand on end before they hit the final chorus.
The emotional "St Paul’s" briefly slowed things down but Veck-Gilodi’s voice held strong despite a few pre-song coughs before rocking the place with "Cassiopeia", the song which the band admit if it had not been written, they would no longer exist. It has proved to be the catalyst for bringing the band closer together than they’ve ever been and helped them to create their best work to date.
The main show closed with classics from the brilliant Fools and Worthless Liars album "Anemophobia" and "Hunstanton Pier", which with its acoustic start then exploded into its grand finale.
After chanting from the crowd, clearly wanting more, the encore kicked off with the stomping "Boston Square", the opener from previous album Old Souls, swiftly followed by the lead single off the new album "Sing", which contains the call to arms lyrics "We're gonna sing, like we mean it, 'cause I mean it this time"... and that they certainly did!
They finished the set with "Pensacola, 2013", the song guitarist Matthew Veck-Gilodi thinks was the greatest thing they’ve ever done and I have to agree, it’s certainly up there. It’s a result of the combination of two songs and it brought the house down to the delight of everyone in attendance. It truly was an immense and emotional gig proving they're one of the best live acts out there today.
Deaf Havana are back and the world is a better place for it, they showed an energy and intensity which proves carrying on with the band was definitely the right thing to do. An ever growing, loyal fan base will hopefully lead to big things and after a tough few years let’s hope they’re here to stay. If you ever get the opportunity I highly recommend catching them live and buying their new record, it will make your life better!