This festival is ours
These are very different times in the Deaf Havana camp. The departure of vocalist Ryan Mellor reduced the quintet down to four members, but to give them credit, the Norfolk rockers appear to remain as strong as ever. Yet although the Donington debutants appeared to be showing a keen facade, they faced an arduous struggle of warming the crowd (and themselves) up. Many of the fans had already fallen victim to the miserable Sunday weather and were rather wet and cold by the time Deaf Havana's 5.15pm slot rolled around.
Like it or not, Deaf Havana's sound has evolved. The intensity of the screaming has faded away, leaving pumping punk rock rhythms to fuel their beautifully melodious choruses. New song 'I Will Try' proved promising, with the crowd contentedly joining in with the repeated, yet simplistic, vocal hook. 'You Are Beautiful' stood out as a particular highlight of the group's short set, with frontman James Veck-Gilodi's powerful vocal performance bleeding with sincerity in what was otherwise quite a reflective piece. As they say; "less is more".
Although their thirty minute set allowed Deaf Havana to deliver an adequate musical performance with glimpses of greatness, there was little that truly engaged the audience. Admittedly such a brief festival slot was never really going to provide them with a decent enough opportunity to make a lasting impression, but they industriously made do with what they had. The foursome has the right to be proud of their solid debut at the legendary Download Festival. Don't dismiss them as a weakened force; they're definitely not down and out yet.