PLUS: The Swellers and The Dangerous Summer
The Waterfront, Norwich
25th April 2012
Words and Photos: Charlie Wallis
The atmosphere is totally electric tonight at The Waterfront. As the audience heaves in to the sold out venue the sense of anticipation is impossible to measure. One thing’s certain however, tonight is going to be something very special indeed. This is something of a homecoming show for Deaf Havana who are tonight playing in their home county for the first time in a while and they’ve been sorely missed during their time away becoming one of the biggest bands on the UK’s alternative music scenes.
First on tonight are Maryland alt rockers The Dangerous Summer who have a job on their hands to manage the excitement of a crowd who, let’s be honest, are here to see one band and one band only. This is a challenge The Dangerous Summer rise to and win the crowd over with ear catching melodies and passion. Particularly impressive is the way in which the band were able to recover after what ends up being a quite literally show stopping technical fault. The band are able to shrug off such let downs and in doing so gain the respect and adoration of the crowd.
Second up are The Swellers who try to enthuse the crowd with their melodic pop edged punk. The lads put in a sterling effort to get the attention of the crowd with lead singer Nick Diener flinging himself about and actively trying to engage with the crowd. While the response is positive it’s hard not to feel as though the weight of the anticipation for the top of the bill casts something of a shadow on The Swellers’ performance. Despite this it’s a solid performance that serves well as a warm up, adequately hyping up the audience for the main event.
There was never any doubt that the response was going to be nothing short of riotous when Deaf Havana take to the stage, but this in itself brings its own set of challenges. The guys really need to bring their ‘A’ game to live up to the expectations of their home crowd, and bring it they do. From the very first note of show opener “Leeches” it’s clear that not only does every member of the crowd know every single word, they fully intend to deafen singer James Veck-Gilodi, hurling every lyric back at the band, desperate to prove their Deaf Havana credentials.
What’s clear is that Deaf Havana have been looking forward to tonight for sometime adding that special something to the proceedings which include a special version of “Friends Like These” and anecdotes about seeing other bands in this very venue. The connection between band and audience tonight is quite incredible and the band seem genuinely humbled by the response. It’s an emotional evening from the belting chorus of “Little White Lies” to the heart string gratingly touching “Hunstanton Pier” which left several members of the front row in tears.
Deaf Havana are a remarkable band who’s songs now grace daytime radio and who will be playing Reading and Leeds later this year. The encore brings an acoustic version of “The Past Six Years” which mentions such things, with one of the lyrics being “These songs still don’t mean half as much as they should do to me”. What’s clear tonight is these songs mean everything to their hometown crowd and they fully deserve every ounce of their fans heart felt devotion.