As we stepped off the train in the bohemian seaside town of Brighton a wave of dread filled our brains. We were there to see one of our all-time favourite bands from our adolescent years, Deaf Havana. Reminiscing about bands can often leave you feeling a little blue for the moments passed, for the expired halcyon youth. Add to that that we had not seen the band perform live, we were worried it may be a case of “never meet your heroes” – we were wrong.
A quick jaunt down to the sweat-bucket beauty of Brighton’s best venue, Concorde 2, along the promenade our anxiety and excitement mixed with a few tinnies in our guttural crucible continued to provide an invigorating experience. Arriving at the venue, a place with the kind of smell you just can’t buy, we were ready.
The band may have soundtracked our angsty teen years with their screamo-rock sound but Deaf Havana have one particular skill up their sleeve – their effortless evolution. They’ve grown from the darker corners of emo to bring us a more refined pop-polished repertoire. Deaf Havana have grown up with us.
As they took to the stage the crowd’s screams were only matched by the ‘good band shuffle’ – the moment when a band comes on stage and everyone in the know moves a little closer, aware that this is going to get rowdy. And rowdy it did get.
Playing hits from across their last three records, RITUALS, All These Countless Nights, and Old Souls they moved the crowd like the true pros they are. Pulsating and pop-driven there was a tangible moment of pure joy in the crowd as the band slammed through a set brimming with bangers.
If we had a gun to our head and had to pick our favourites it would be hard to find fault in, ‘Trigger’, ‘Sinner’ and ‘Holy’ as standout moments of the night. The former offering a quick dip into their pop-punk roots while the latter two again showed off the gleam of studio-perfect shimmies. We, along with the rest of the crowd, were stuffed full and fat with reasons to dance. Deaf Havana had finally quelled my malleable stomach. But wait, there was one tearjerker left.
As part of the band’s encore, they performed ‘Caro Padre’, a song which is particularly close to our hearts but is given extra gravitas at shows like this. The track was written by singer James Veck-Gilodi about the rocky road of turning into his father. It’s a sentiment given extra weight when performed alongside his brother and guitarist Matt.
With that the band departed, we made our way back to the station under the lights of a windy seaside promenade. We left not only feeling satisfied, not only feeling dance-weary, but also contemplating that maybe getting older isn’t really so bad. If Deaf Havana can do it we probably all can.