It’s been a busy year for the five guys from Hunstanton with the release of their fourth studio album All These Countless Nights in January, the first leg of the UK tour in February and March followed by a European tour and multiple festival appearances. In recent weeks, Deaf Havana have released a reworked version of All These Countless Nights and completed the first four dates of their second round of UK tour dates this year. Tonight, the Deaf Havana tour bus rolled into Leeds, this time bringing along fellow British rock bands Black Foxxes and Decade.
Up first and with the task of getting a half-full venue warmed up for the rest of the evening were Somerset rockers Decade. With the rest of the band in position, the tambourine-wielding lead vocalist, Alex Sears, bounced onto the stage, grabbing hold of the mic stand to give the crowd a sample of the band’s second album, Pleasantries. Sears found time to plug it between the tracks “Brand New Again” and “Peach Milk” (which is about neither peaches nor milk, apparently).
At this point there was also a quick joke about the merch stand being so far away from the stage that it was practically at the train station. Decade finished the set with “Daisy May” which received the loudest reaction from the crowd with a group of loyal fans singing along.
The second band of the night, Black Foxxes, hit a smoky and backlit stage and dived straight into playing their short but energetic set. They rattled through the first four songs (“Husk”, “Slow Jams Forever”, “Saela” and “Whatever Lets You”), only pausing between songs to mention it was one of the band member’s birthday that day. However this was questionable as the rest of the band then went on to claim it was also their birthdays. Vocalist Mark Holley introduced the penultimate track “Manic in Me” from the band’s upcoming album, REIðI, which is released in March next year and available to preorder now, before following it up with “River”.
By the time Deaf Havana entered the stage, the Leeds Beckett University venue had filled up nicely. The second Lee Wilson played the first few notes on the bass guitar the song was instantly recognisable as the band’s most recent single “Fever” and the crowd came alive, jumping and singing along when the vocals from James Veck-Gilodi kicked in. The first single from All These Countless Nights, “Sing” was up next. The energy of the crowd was taken to the next level with “Mildred”. Up until this point this was a typical Deaf Havana concert with the band pulling out some of their most well-known tracks from their back catalogue.
It was at this point however that the gig took a slightly different direction and rather than choosing tracks like “22” and “The Past Six Years” that have become crowd favourites, they instead chose some obscure tracks from Fools & Worthless Liars and Old Souls such as “Things Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn’t Stop For Anybody” and “Caro Padre”; unexpected but an enjoyable twist. There was also a wide selection of album tracks from All These Countless Nights including “Seattle”, “Happiness” and “Pretty Low”. Towards the end of the main set, Veck-Gilodi asked the crowd how many people owned the recently released reworked version of All These Countless Nights before treating the crowd to an updated rendition of “Ghosts and Pensacola”.
During the set, Veck-Gilodi thanked the support bands Decade and Black Foxxes, also highlighting the that they are two of his favourite new British bands and the fact that the talent of both bands keeps Deaf Havana on their toes. As ever with a gig in Leeds there was also the customary chants of “LEEDS, LEEDS, LEEDS!” to which the question of “Why are there so many Greggs’ in Leeds?” was raised by the band.
The band returned to the stage for a three-song encore which featured the crowd favourites of “Trigger” and “Boston Square” before ending with the slightly unusual choice of “Anemophobia Pt 2” as the last song.
All photos by Jack Barker Photography