Live Review | Deaf Havana w/ Black Foxxes and Decade | Y Plas, Cardiff | 24/11/17

Deaf Havana have been storming through this tour with a spring in their step. At this point in their career they are reaching the hardened touring veterans you would expect them to be but how well are they fairing on this headliner? With Decade and Black Foxxes in support how did they all fare on the evening?

There is a certain swagger behind Decade [7] as they play the opening slot on tonight's bill and rightly so. Harmonies on point and musically tight they burst through their repertoire largely complimented by hits from latest release Pleasantries. With a decent sized crowd amassed rather early the band use the energy in the room to their advantage. The band bounce through their short set but by no means do they waste it. They also seem completely comfortable on a stage of this size and don't feel drowned out in the slightest as many bands can often be. Pleasantries has catapulted Decade this far, another release like that and they will find themselves headlining this stage before long.

Black Foxxes [7] are a band to add to the “must see” hitlist if you haven’t already. Frontman Mark Holley is a force of nature and effortlessly commands the stage as soon as he opens his mouth. Raw energy exudes during “Husk” whilst “Whatever Lets You Cope”provides a lull in which Holley's shattering vocal tones chime thrugh the venue. For a three piece Black Foxxes sure do make a hell of a noise (good noise that is, very good noise). The energy and passion levels are through the roof from the outset and throughout the entire set.

Sampling new music from their upcoming release the band seem to take it in their stride. They are well rehearsed and their music a phenomenal listen and translates beautifully live. Smashing through their set with barely a break or uttered word between songs they band quite clearly don't need to prove anything other than through their music.

Ending on “River”, the first song Black Foxxes ever wrote, it takes shape as the musical equivalent of the calm before the storm. It isn't until 4 minutes in that the song explodes but the lead up to it has the room in awe. A truly inspiring spectacle and a truly inspiring band.

Deaf Havana [10] have arguably had their most successful year to date after dropping All These Countless Nights early 2017. After very nearly calling it a day the five piece found are no strangers to being on the edge, but that only seems to spur them on.

Opening with “Fever” followed directly by “Sing” the bands success from the latest album shows in these hits. Deaf Havana's proficiency and musicianship when executing these tracks live is absolutely flawless. “Mildred (Lost A Friend)” follows oozing pure passion.

Taking a break to say his first words of the night, James Veck-Gilodi tells the crowd “You are a a rowdy lot, not as rowdy as we were last night. We went to a metal bar with our friend last night and played 3 hours of Oasis music.” Having been out the night before the fatigue really didn't show...

Taking it old school (or as old as they will go nowadays) with “Times Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn’t Stop For Anybody” followed by “Leeches” and “Anemophobia” the band have really built themselves an impressive back-catalogue of music that has this Cardiff crowd singing along to every word.

Boasting more of the amazing songwriting from ATCN the band move into “Seattle”, the story of Veck-Gilodi being away in America and missing home followed by “Happiness” which feels like an apology letter lyrically. The themes from the album formed into the individual songs really feel like they take you into the story being told for a small snippet of time.

Forgetting the lyrics twice in “Hunstanton Pier” somehow played off in Veck-Gilodi’s favour. The song is a beautiful from start to finish and is one that any Deaf Havana fan will have sat and listened to and felt that sense of heightened emotion and passion when singing along. Now times that by 10 as the bands raw emotion pours out of them whilst playing their hometown anthem.

Moving to the bands latest workings or reworkings Matthew Veck-Gilodi kindly asks the crowd whether they have bought the reworked version of ATCN and whether they can play a few tracks from it. The reworked version of “Like A Ghost” takes a more drum heavy approach that has a more slick feel to it with the addition of prominent strings. The band then hit us with the reworked version of “Penascola” which again has the instrumentals flipped up in a really cool way. These tracks translate amazingly on stage.

In the most surprising turn of the night Deaf Havana offer a cover of Oasis’ “Cigarettes & Alcohol” for a friend (who we all know to be Cardiff’s local production master Romesh Dodangoda) whom they had spent the night before with. What was even more of a surprise was that this provided a real highlight of the night and you know what they actually managed to nail it! Having said this, “Pretty Low” & “Caro Padre” provide the biggest highlights of the night. Veck-Gilodi absolutely knocked it out of the park. The pure passion that oozed out of these performances was an absolute masterclass.

Queue the encore and before the crowd have fully recovered the band are back on with “Trigger” and “Boston Square", two tracks that by this point are welcomed additions to an already flawless evening. Interestingly the band choose to end with “Anemophobia Part II”, a bonus track from the reworked version of their latest album and despite not catching all those final singalongs that "Little White Lies" may have done it ended on one hell of a note!

It is hard to criticize a band that have really honed their art and musicianship on their own music. The little mistakes only seem to compliment the feel of the music and the storytelling abilities in each song translate so well live that it transports the listener much like with the studio tracks. Absolutely incredible night with three hugely talented bands.