Live Review: Deaf Havana - Liverpool Academy

Liverpool Academy, 22nd October 2013

Deaf Havana are a band that have been through quite a remarkable metamorphosis in the last few years. Initially being spewed out of a scene full of pretty haircuts and tight jeans but not much else, the band made a radical departure from the formulaic sing-scream formula of “emo” rock with their sophomore release 'Fools and Worthless Liars'. Their new effort, 'Old Souls', takes their evolution one step further. It's like someone locked the band in a musical Guantanamo Bay, burnt all their tight shirts, threw away their My Chemical Romance CDs and blared a continuous stream of Bruce Springsteen and classic rock into their cells until they started dressing like farmers. 

Tonight's support acts compliment the band's new direction quite well, despite this 'Big Sixes' are quite dull and play to a totally uninterested crowd. 'Charlie Simpson' on the other hand has the musical chops to turn some heads, despite an annoying amount of talking during the quiet, chilled-out vibes of new song 'Winter Hymn'. Complimented by a great backing band, Simpson manages to turn his acoustic led rock ballads into room filling anthems whilst remaining delicate and with an air vulnerability. With his set ending with the massive sounding 'Riverbeds', people stream into the room for the night's headline act.

Deaf Havana attract a funny kind of audience. On one hand, their past means that there is a healthy amount of kids with purple hair and checkerboard slip-ons. On the other hand, their recent output means that there is plenty of older people in the audience waiting to enjoy their music...or perhaps to make sure their kids play nice. The creche at the front of the crowd go typically wild for upbeat, poppy stompers such as 'I'm a Bore, Mostly' and 'Leeches', opening up fair sized mosh-pit for the former at the start of their encore. However, the start of the set is blighted by a murky, bass-heavy sound that makes 'Boston Square' sound like Napalm Death and drowns out some of the more subtle musical moments early on. Fortunately, things pick up with beautiful renditions of 'The Past Six Years' and 'Tuesday People', marking a turning point in the night. The only stinker in this set was the guy in front of me who smelt like he had a rotting carcass up his arse. Farts aside, tonight was a refreshing look at one of Britain's most promising bands before they go off to conquer the USA on their upcoming debut North American tour. 

I smell a winner on the horizon for Deaf Havana.

Words by Ian Pemberton

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