An Evening with Deaf Havana (how fancy)
I've never gone to a gig before and thought 'Why didn't I wear a suit?' the idea is mental, why would you wear a suit to a gig, pits would be a nightmare. Well this wasn't a regular gig, this was An Evening with Deaf Havana at Albert Hall in Nottingham and oh boy was it a night to remember.
Instead of big bouncers looking like they'd eat your face we were greeted by smartly dressed people in bowties, we were trusted with bottles, the foyer was selling kit kats and haribo! That alone already had me under the impression that this night wasn't going to be a 'gig' this was going to be a show.
The chairs were (yeah chairs) set up as if you were back at school and about to watch a play, everyone was sitting and talking, restless, waiting for the show to begin. The stage was laden with instruments, acoustic guitars, drums, keyboard, other percussion elements... there were a lot of instruments and more would be introduced in due course. First of all ladies and gentleman, Big Sixes.
Cheers are heard as the lights go down slightly and three cheeky young chaps take to the stage. They start off with their single Swallowing Flies it sounds like a more haunting rendition of something you'd hear in The Nightmare Before Christmas and was an amazing way to start the show! They have a short acoustic set, which is clearly something they don't do usually but they pull it off brilliantly. They're clearly not strangers to crowds either and fit in straight away, even getting a few laughs along the way.
I sit there amazed once again by the room that we're in and what we've just seen, nothing would have prepared me for what was coming, this was going to be a very special show. Screams are heard and coming through the door at the back are the mighty Deaf Havana and you think maybe a graceful entrance is needed for such a classy place...nah, they conga to the stage. Heroic!
They all take up their positions and kick into The Past Six Years, everyone is stunned and singing along every step of the way, not shouting though but singing quietly and it dawned on me that I was not ready for this show. Straight into their single Leeches and a chance for the crowd to sing along with the incredibly catchy chorus. It's somehow still rock and roll even though it's all unplugged. The guitarist looks so relaxed, almost falling asleep in his chair. Everyone just looks comfortable on stage with what they're doing. The next song is a new one James explains that it's about someone he knew in college who messed up his life. The aptly named Saved was a great teaser for the new album that they've all been working on. I for one can't wait to hear it.
Deaf Havana carry on with such songs as Nelson's County and the classic Friend's Like Thesee of which James the lead singer says 'This is the worst song we've ever wrote' the whole band laugh and agree with him, but the crowd love it.
Act 1 (as they wrote it in the program) ended with The World or Nothing. Deaf Havana left the stage and walked past all their fans clapping and cheering. Everyone left stunned and just saying how amazing it was to be there.
This unplugged set proved one thing, they are not a band they are all individual artists, it's quite a feat to pull off this kind of set but they do it perfectly. The second act started with James and a guitar and I Will Try ut at other times he dons a guitar, a banjo, a mandolin, a lapsteel and on Smiles All Around he hops on the drums to show us that he really can do...anything. His younger brother Matt (who is now a full member of the band, along with Keyboardist, Max Britton) takes up the singing and has clearly been getting lessons from James as he sings perfectly.
All too soon it's the last song - the amazingly brilliant single Hunstanton Pier and Deaf Havana leave the stage with grace and everyone is left in awe from what they've just seen. This night won't be forgotten quickly.