hmv reviews… Deaf Havana @ London's Clapham Grand
When they arrived in 2009, Deaf Havana seemed like just another generic post-hardcore troupe with a scream/quiet/scream/poppy chorus formula. But, with 2011's Fools And Worthless Liars they took a massive left turn, embracing the heartfelt, anthemic rock of The Gaslight Anthem and Bruce Springsteen in their new songs. Three years later and with a much-acclaimed third record named Old Souls in their locker, the Norfolk six-piece are in the midst of their biggest UK tour to date. Here's what went down at their London show last night (April 10)…
Deaf Havana, former screamo also-rans, now anthemic folk rockers.
Clapham Grand, a strange venue in South London that looks a lot like a 70s disco.
Any good supports?
First up were Welsh folky types The People The Poet, who brought plenty of quirk and went down reasonably well with the crowd. Arizona rockers The Maine did a little better with their Southern-fried pop rock. Nothing earth shattering, but they certainly got the crowd going.
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
Sold out and packed to the rafters, packed with a crowd who sang along with almost every word of Deaf Havana.
So what was the set like? What did they play?
18 tracks, which included most of both Old Souls and Fools And Worthless Liars. Kicking off with 'Lights', they ran through the likes of 'Everybody's Dancing and I Want To Die', a crushing '22' and a bulldozing rendition of 'Leeches'. There were quieter moments too, a stripped back version of previous single 'Little White Lies' and an acoustic run through of 'Anemophobia' and the gentle strum of 'Hunstanton Pier', all of this wound up in a smashing three-song encore that ended with album highlight 'Caro Padre'.
Any good between song banter?
Frontman James Veck-Gilodi had a few choice words, mostly platitudes about how great the crowd were, but he also took the time to introduce the meaning behind a few of the set's slower moments, including the sad story about the friend who inspired the lilting ballad 'Saved'. He also paid tribute to 'Real bands', as you do…
Did they put on much of a show?
There were no fireworks or dancers, but the band pulled out all the stops with their set, which saw them backed by a four-piece choir and string quartet. It made their songs sound even more enormous.
What was the highlight of the set?
There were so many, but 'Boston Square' and 'Mildred (Lost A Friend)', which closed the first part of the set, both sounded particularly colossal.
Where can I catch them next?
There's one more show at the venue tonight and then gigs in Oxford, Wolverhampton, Cardiff and Brighton. They're also on the roster for this summer's Reading and Leeds Festivals.
Deaf Havana's new album Old Souls is out now and available in stores across the UK. You can also preview it by here clicking on the icon on the right hand side of the page.