Deaf Havana - Live - o2, Academy, Liverpool

o2 Academy, Liverpool, England
22/11/2015

After recently parting ways with Guitarist Chris Pennels and laying low for quite some time, Deaf Havana burst back onto the stage with a brief but busy tour of the UK. We checked in at the o2 Academy, Liverpool to find out what they’ve been hiding.



It’s clear from the off that with Deaf Havana’s fan base, absence only made the heart grow fonder.  Opening up with The Past Six Years, the live rendition remains stripped down for the first half, leaving the Liverpudlian crowd much opportunity to be heard as though they’ve spent the entire hiatus rehearsing their own performance for James Veck-Gilodi to hear. The remaining members of the band take to the stage and kick the night into full swing but it's still not nearly enough to drown out the crowd chorus.

It’s only two tracks in before a truer Alt-Rock side to the band is put on show with the new track, Cassiopeia. The song maintains the familiar structure of a Deaf Havana anthem with the ambience, sustained guitar, Power-Rock chorus and occasional bad word but there is something a little more progressive going on here. The sound carries well throughout, along with the energy; the ear plugs I use to ward off tinnitus are almost redundant with the screaming fans that are out in force tonight.



Deaf Havana shift it up a gear with Smiles All Round; the heat is rising as the bodies keep moving, it takes no cue from the band to get this crowd clapping along, it’s like a well-honed recital of what an audience should do, every soaring chorus lights up their face and opens their bronchioles.
Ploughing through the hits, there has been little interaction with the crowd until now; the band address the layoff “Thanks for sticking by us…it’s been a long time…Last time I was fatter with more hair” - jokes James. it turns out that Deaf Havana have not just been festering, they apparently have around 30 new songs and here’s one of them, England.  Starting with a simple fuzz distorted riff and building into a wall-of-sound chorus, the song seems almost ironically titled. Working through some interesting Samba rhythms and bass grooves it’s more of a prompt to “just cheer up” than it is a reflection on blighty. We’d much rather listen to this than customary complaints about the weather.



Onto a ballad, Saved. The pace slows down as does the movement in the crowd. Smiling, screaming faces are replaced with awe filled gazes as the warm tones fill the Academy. The sing and clap alongs are a constant theme here but that’s what the audiencel came for and Deaf Havana deliver in heaps.
Fast forward to the last few tracks we can’t deny that the performance has been proficient and so the time off stage was well spent refining their act, but, just as quickly as it was noticed, it was jinxed. A loose connection hums out going into The World Or Nothing but the band crack on and power through. To the majority it’s not even noticed, to the rest it’s forgiven. These things happen and the onlookers are more concerned about having their last chance to dance. For the most part the buzz is drowned out by the crowds crooning, at this point shoulders are mounted and the condensed audience don’t leave the security much choice but to let them live it up.



Deaf Havana came and went to a huge ovation and it’s clear that they’ve been missed: selling out almost every show on the tour in advance. It seems as though the supply:demand ratio is heavily tilted to the latter on these 5 dates. With glimpses of what could be a new album and shed loads of new material we expect that those who missed out this time willl be seeing much more of Deaf Havana in 2016