Deaf Havana

By Ryan Wilkinson

Standing among the crowd gathered here tonight at O2 Academy Oxford it is clear to see the excitement building, as we eagerly await the arrival of Deaf Havana. The smell of sweat, beer and hairspray fills the air whilst the sound of constant chatter drowns out the music being played over the venue’s sound system. Fans of all ages have attended tonight’s show with kids no older than fourteen to fully grown adults, it gives a clear picture of the wide fan base Deaf Havana have gained over the years. Last year saw the departure of Ryan Mellor who provided screaming vocals for the band. Deaf Havana announced in January that they were not going to replace Ryan, so tonight we were going to find out just how they’re getting on without him.

The lights dim and instantly the crowd’s attention is drawn towards the stage as a melodic intro begins. Out walk Deaf Havana and the entire venue welcomes them with loud cheers as they kick into ‘Smiles All Round’, a single released November 2010. The room fills with energy as mosh pits open and the audience sing along to every word. With no time to recover from this explosive introduction, Deaf Havana follow with ‘Oh Howard, You Crack me Up’ from their EP ‘It’s Called The Easy Life’. No stopping there though as the band keeps adrenaline flowing with two more songs ‘The World Or Nothing’ and ‘3 Cheers For The Easy Life’ before coming to a rest.

James’s charisma keeps us entertained while he informs the crowd of the much anticipated second album due for release very soon. In spirit of this information comes three songs which are to be seen on the upcoming second album. ‘I Will Try’, ‘I’m A Bore, Mostly’ and ‘Youth In Retrospect’ gave us a great taste of things to come. Judging by the atmosphere during these stunning tracks and the crowd’s excellent response, the new album is sure to be listed as a favourite by many.

Speaking of favourites, ‘Friends Like These’ kicked things into overdrive. ‘Another Day In This House’ quickly followed keeping this chaotic atmosphere in full swing.

Deaf Havana kept the energy and atmosphere flowing from start to finish, making their fans feel important and pulling no stops to give them the performance they all came here to see. As the show draws to a close, the band gave fans a nice surprise playing a cover of Nirvana song ‘You Know You’re Right’. Many people often look down on cover songs, but no one could deny that they really pulled off this performance and truly expressed the extent of their talents.

To close this impressive show Deaf Havana they performed ‘Nicotine And Alcohol’, a favourite among many and a perfect choice for an ending. Despite this stunning display of musicianship we have witnessed tonight, the crowd begin chanting “one more song”. After a moments pause, James arrives back on stage and the audience get just what they asked for. He gives a powerful and touching solo performance of ‘You Are Beautiful’ bringing this intense and inspiring show to a close.

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