REVIEW: Deaf Havana, Lonely The Brave and Verses Lincoln Engine Shed, 20/12/2014
When thinking of what you could possibly get at a Deaf Havana show, it’s always an interesting conversation – will they play just songs from their latest, more radio friendly, record, Old Souls, or perhaps they may indulge long time fans with rarely heard songs form their First album Meet Me Halfway, At Least, often they go with a good variety, something for all fans (other than those who just like debut mini-album It’s Called The Easy Life, but they can’t play those songs any more due to the lack of both cohesion between those songs and their newer material, and the lack of a scream vocalist). For this latest tour, the King’s Lynn sextet allowed fans to choose the setlist, an interesting if potentially risky move, yet it truly did pay off, with a varied set, pleasing all in attendance at the Engine Shed tonight.
(Photographs courtesy of Steven Haddock Photography)
But before all of this, Brighton based rockers Verses open up proceedings to a rapidly filling hall. Impressing the excitable crowd with their catchy pop-rock tunes, they definitely win a few fans over, and by the time We Live In The Sky rounds off their set, they’ve definitely converted a few new people onto their music. What’s most rewarding with Verses however, is the depth you get from listening back to the band where they incorporate interesting post-rock ambient guitar parts that really push this band up a level above their contemporaries.
Following on from Verses, Lonely The Brave stride onto stage and rip into Call Of Horses, and proceed to play an excellent set from their debut album The Days War. Turning straight into Victory Line as the second song, people get bouncing and singing along to the mega sized choruses on offer from this Cambridge based crew. While Lonely The Brave grab people with their unforgettable songs and giant hooks, they lack in stage interaction, as singer David Jakes appears to suffer from some form of chronic stage fright, and at times refuses to even look at the audience, proceeding to perform with his eyes closed. They end with a triumphant sounding Backroads, taken from The Days War, and also last years Backroads EP, it’s clear that with one or two more albums of this quality that Lonely The Brave could be headlining this room, especially with the crowd reaction they get tonight playing as support.
Alas now it is time for the main event, Deaf Havana. The now six-piece (expanding from a four-piece with in 2012 with the addition of Matthew Veck-Gilodi on guitar and Max Britton on keys) take to the stage and leap straight into Boston Square, first single from latest album Old Souls, sending the eager crowd into a frenzy. Speeding Cars is an odd follow up song, and takes the pace down a minute, as does Kings Road Ghosts, potentially both played too early on in the set, however Times Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn’t Stop For Anybody then comes along and sets the show back on track, and so it continues this way, with stand out tracks Little White Lies, Filthy Rotten Scoundrel, and an anthemic Mildred (Lost A Friend) dedicated by Matthew to our own Carlos Montero.
Nicotine And Alcohol Saved My Life comes next, the only song aired tonight from Meet Me Halfway, At Least, with James Veck-Gilodi leading the captivated crowd in a melancholic sing along, especially to the end refrain of the song, before following it up with the alternate version of Anemophobia and blowing the crowd away with the sheer emotion in Veck-Gilodi’s voice. The stripped down, piano lead piece enthralls all in attendance and really shows that this band, who once played support in tiny Kings Lynn pubs, could maybe one day bring their craft to arenas across the UK. The Norfolk pop-rockers end on a victorious Hunstanton Pier, involving every single person at the Engine Shed this evening, with not a soul left not singing or dancing, it really is a crowning moment, and a great way from Deaf Havana to bow out the year, with a promise that next year there will be more and bigger things to come, it’s quite clear that even with the vast size that this band has already gained, they’re not stopping until they’re the biggest UK rock band around, and quite frankly, I can’t see how anything could stop that coming true based upon tonight’s performance.