Deaf Havana @ Leeds O2 Academy 4/4/14 ★★★★☆

Leeds o2 AcademyDeaf-Havana

With straight up, real rock and roll being top of the agenda tonight, Deaf Havana bring their Springsteen inspired sound to Leeds.

TPTP-300x202And first to take the stage is The People The Poet, a five piece from South Wales, hand-picked by Deaf Havana themselves to open up for the tour and warm up the growing number of people filling the attendance.

The Mumford & Sons folk style and Nickelback like vocals hardly builds up the crowd’s energy, with only a handful of enthusiasts trying to get behind them and clap along, the majority of the crowd stand by and watch as the Welsh quintet play through their heartfelt, emotional songs written from fan received stories. The soft soothing sound is appreciated throughout the still growing number of people, but with the only excitement from there set being gathered by asking “who’s excited for Deaf Havana?” the band doesn’t go down as something to remember.

The Maine follow, and are faced with the task of truly warming up the crowd. The quintet from Arizona storms the stage and immediately rallies the The Mainecrowd with their experience of countless tours over the world shining through. As the eccentric lead vocalist banters with the crowd, “don’t do drugs you guys. Only do the good ones.” They give the crowd a great excuse to move and dance but in the early part of the set it proves to be not enticing enough. But as the band power on the charisma of the frontman wins over the Yorkshire crowd as they smash through a well thought out set. The mind-set of the band suggesting “It’s Friday f**king night, let’s feel good about ourselves. We wanna party with you” leaves the stage set for Deaf Havana to truly end the night in spectacular fashion as the five piece complete their task of warming up the crowd.

As the crowd roars, and the Broadway style lightning production almost blinds the crowd, Deaf Havana take to the stage and open with the unusual Deaf Havanaaachoice of ‘Lights’. But with the crowd’s sheer excitement of seeing the six piece from Norfolk, the opening song still goes down well. The real rock music mind set is suggested early on with a voice over interlude saying “99% of what’s classed as rock and roll these days; silence is more compelling.” Before dropping into ‘Everybody’s Dancing And I Want To Die’ which really does get the adrenaline of the crowd to a massive high, surely showing that it’s an obvious choice for an opening song.

Deaf Havana continue to play through a beautiful set with fan favourite ‘I’m A Bore, Mostly’ and the earlier ‘Smiles All Round’ being welcomed with open arms. The absence of backing vocalist Grace Barrett doesn’t falter the sound of the band, with such a simple rock show performance, and such a vast back catalogue of truly amazing songs with chorus’ that are made to be sang along to; it’s hard not to enjoy watching on.

The difficult choice of playing the rock or alternative version of songs that six piece poses, creates a truly heart-felt atmosphere at times, but with countless instrument and tempo changes it’s easy to lose some of the energy from the crowd, and with too many slow song choices, the set feels slightly disjointed at times.

But as the set comes to a close with the clean vocal rendition of ‘Nicotine And Alcohol Saved My Life’ and the emotional ‘Caro Padre,’ the tight, precise sound of Deaf Havana is something to really admire, and the greatful attitude of James (Lead vocals/guitar) showing throughout their set and the enjoyment of the band visible every second they’re onstage, the night ends in spectacular fashion.