O2 Academy, Bournemouth

Deaf Havana

Fresh from supporting The Xcerts, themselves a band who wisely choose support slots, Verses opened the evening for Deaf Havana. They confessed to the crowd that they were last in Bournemouth 5 years ago when they started out, playing to about 10 people. So it was a sign of how far they’ve come that they played to an almost packed floor. Their catchy and anthemic rock/pop reminded me of the easy likeability of Jimmy Eat World. Yet I felt that all their choruses could fit with all their verses, and all their verses with all their choruses. In short, Verses need more choruses. Closer “Live in the Sky” was like the piece of meat saved till last in a meal of mushy peas. More meat please.


There’s something about running in torrential rain that when embraced makes you feel alive. Something about the danger of swimming in the sea on a dark and stormy night alone. Something about the music of Lonely The Brave. Arriving onstage all dressed in black they launch into “Backroads”. Singer David Jakes’ onstage awkwardness is in direct contrast to the sheer brilliance and intensity of his voice. He twitches and turns to sing facing the side of the stage, and his bandmates more than make up for this with the energy of their combined headbanging. Inventive guitar parts abound. The closest comparison I can make to their sound is Pearl Jam; emotive and epic, heavy and heartfelt. One huge song follows the other with “Backroads” into “Trick of the Light”, and so on. Stadiums they might not yet fill, but they sure sound like they should.

Lonely The Brave
Lonely The Brave 1

“No introduction needed”, James Veck-Gilodi confidently repeats after Deaf Havana stumble and at the second attempt begin with “Boston Square”. And at the end, just when you think it’s over and Veck-Gilodi takes a sip of water, the band burst back into the chorus seamlessly. Their 3rd album “Old Souls” marks a graduation to classic songwriting in the storytelling vein, name checking Springsteen on “22” and tonight displaying their love for Counting Crows on a cover of “Round Here”. Having had a relatively quiet year since the release of “Old Souls” in 2013, they can afford a stumble or two. And it proved that they grew into this headline set, the newer offerings provoking singalongs and the old ones receiving a rapturous reception.

Deaf Havane
Deaf Havana 1

Far from being content with name checking the Boss (Springsteen for those of you unaware) their band has swelled to almost E Street Band size. The keys and additional guitars complement the depth of their new sound. As the set goes on, Veck-Gilodi becomes more vulnerable in his between-song chat, moving from saying hi to his Grandad in the audience to telling the fans that they had a nightmare start to the year and admitting they have come close to giving up at times. He goes so far to describe the motivation for writing songs being the hope that it might help people in some way. By the time they play Mildred (Lost A Friend) there is a feeling of cathartic celebration. Leaning his guitar against the monitor for “Anemophobia” allows for the full power of his lungs to be unleashed. The crowd are well adept at hollering back the words, and being stuffed with a cold gives the Deaf Havana frontman extra excuse to stand back from the mic and let the fans do their thing.

Thanking the crowd for the umpteenth time for their support, they close the night with signature tune “Hunstanton Pier”. There was no encore, but I did catch sight of Veck-Gilodi’s Grandad. With 2 grandsons on stage bearing guitars on their backs and hearts on their sleeves, he must’ve been a very proud man indeed. All in all, a triumphant return to the stage.

Boston Square
Speeding Cars
Kings Road Ghosts
Things Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn’t Stop for Anybody
Smiles All Round
Night Drives
Little White Lies
Round Here (Counting Crows cover)
Filthy Rotten Scoundrel
Everybody’s Dancing and I Want To Die
Nicotine and Alcohol Saved My Life
Anemophobia (Alternative version)
Hunstanton Pier



Words By Tom Whitman
Pitures by Snappy Chappy Chinners

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