I have to say, at the outset, that up until the week of this gig I have never listened to any output by the main band on this tour. They had been recommended to me by my stepson who is a big fan. So I gave them a listen and, apart from the early more screamy stuff I really quite liked them. So it was with a certain amount of anticipation that myself and said stepson turned up to Leeds Beckett for the gig.
We, unfortunately, missed most of the set by Decade, mostly through having to fill out all the paperwork for a mortgage to park the car in Leeds! but what we did see was really very good and as a support act, they performed really well in their duties.
The next act up for the support slot was Blackfoxxes and the energy that buzzed from them really began to warm the growing Leeds crowd. The lead guitarist and vocalist, Mark Holley, draws the crowd in with a real electrifying presence only added to by the drums of Ant Thornton and and bass of Tristan Jane who make up the rest of this 3 piece powerhouse.
Its rare for a band to use intro music or words these days, but Deaf Havana have chosen some interesting snippets from “Stranger Things” to not only open their set but to pepper the rest of their music throughout the set. A great program which really does fit in well with the music tonight.
Deaf Havana have been around for a little while now, with four and a half (I count the re-work as a half) albums under their belt they know their craft and they use that knowledge to the full.
It becomes very apparent throughout the set that these guys can really put out amazing tune after amazing tune. For me, there are a couple of stand out tracks, “Happiness” being one, but throughout there are no fillers in this set. The crowd, who I have to say are a real mixed age, lap it up and through references to the number of Greggs in Leeds (34 we are told) and the fact that they are indeed in the north respond to the main man James Veck-Gilodi in a fervor that is genuinely palpable.
Track after track shows the roots of this band are truly in rock n roll, with obvious influences from the likes of Gaslight Anthem (in the good years) and through that bloodline to Bruce Springsteen. Indeed if you didn’t know that these guys hail from the coast and fens of East Anglia, you would really think they were born of good New Jersey stock.
As the set progresses however it does become a little more obvious that Deaf Havana have added other aspects into their music and this is typified by their re-worked album All These Countless Nights and the associated single “Trigger” which adds a real different feel to their music – a difference that is not unpleasant to be fair although other than said single I did prefer the more rock and roll aspects of their music.
It is obvious to me that these guys are destined for much bigger things and that this new musical direction will no doubt help them climb the dizzy heights and rightly so.
So was my anticipation founded? Oh Yes! I don’t mind admitting that I am now a fan and in this instance (and as a note to him, only this instance) my stepson was very right in recommending them. Deaf Havana – class act!