Deaf Havana @ Rock City, 23/10/2013

It’s safe to say Deaf Havana have had an intense few months: playing Reading and Leeds, supporting Bruce Springsteen at the annual Hard Rock Calling festival and being featured for the second time as Zane Lowe’s “Hottest Record In The World” with Boston Square. Following the release of Old Souls in September, their most successful album yet, entering 9th into the UK album chart, the boys have gone back to their touring roots and taken to the road on an 8 date UK tour – their largest headline tour to date.

The six piece alternative rock band from Hunstanton and Kings Lynn returned to Rock City on the 6th leg of their tour, with support from Charlie Simpson (yes, that’s Charlie from Busted) and Big Sixes. I had the pleasure of going to see a band that, I think, are going to be a regular feature on the main stages of festivals in the not so distance future.

The Big Sixes warmed up the growing crowd with an enthusiastic set. The lead singer created some laughs through crude banter, which was well received to the beer induced audience. Lighters flew into the air for their slower offering Swallowing Flies.

Next to take the stage was Charlie Simpson, whose eyebrows were prominent as ever. The crowd received his new matured sound well and he had everyone clapping along by the second song of his set. The folky undertones and upbeat rhythm of Down Down Down got the crowd dancing and set the energetic tone of the rest of the night, whilst affirming that Charlie’s new sound is one bound to go down well with critics and fans alike.

Finally the stage was being set for the main event, as sound checks were taking place the crowd buzzed with anticipation. A cheeky glimpse of James and the boys were off. The set started with an unusual choice – a cover of Elvis Presley’s Teddy Bear, which was covered in typical Deaf Havana style before launching into a host of seamless tracks from both Fools and Worthless Liars and Old Souls. From Old Souls, the crowd was loving Everybody’s Dancing and I Want to Die singing back the lyrics and moshing to their hearts content. The encore was intense; Deaf Havana made the fans wait, but eventually caved to the demands of “We want more!” The lads returned to the stage keeping the crowd lively with I’m A Bore, Mostly and Mildred. By now everyone was pushing the curfew but the crowd wouldn’t leave without one last song from the passionate band. James pulled at the heart-strings saying thanking the fans with “This is all thanks to you…I never thought we’d get to play a venue like this” before launching into Fifty-Four, a final and memorable effort during which the whole crowd relished in the boys genuine awe at playing Rock City.

Overall the show was as visually appealing as it was musically, with great use made of the lighting and the energy of the crowd. Deaf Havana’s stage presence was spot on and took the gig up a notch, whilst comic elements, such as drummer Tom throwing his socks into the crowd at the end, reminded us of the lads down to earth nature. The intimate feeling of the gig was maintained, despite the sheer mass of fans in the crowd, and this added to the feeling of pride at what Deaf Havana have achieved. Expect to hear more and more from Deaf Havana this year and onwards. With a North American tour already lined up supporting Ash for 2014 the boys have proved that Deaf Havana are ready to rock, they’re damn good and they’re only set to get better. Good luck lads!

by Cara Preece