Live Review: Deaf Havana – The Mill, Birmingham
28th March 2023
Support: The LaFontaines, Sick Joy
Words & Photos: Damian John
Sick Joy, an acidic alt rock trio get the honour of opening up tonight. They power through a medley of up tempo bangers as the Tuesday crowd slowly starts to fill up throughout their set. They give a dynamic performance but unfortunately the audience tonight seem to be a bit unreceptive despite Sick Joy’s upbeat manor, shame really as I think they deserved a much better response. Their set quickly comes to an end as we move onto our next band of the evening; The LaFontaines.
Well and truly ramping things up, The LaFontaines start out chilled but this is all a ploy and quickly explode with energy and style. Kerr Oaken’s enthusiasm is contagious, the Glaswegian frontman wastes no time jumping onto the barrier and often into the crowd to get everyone into the swing of things. His charisma spills off the stage as he banters with the audience between songs; correcting us all on the correct pronunciation of the word 'chips'. Their music blends multiple genres such as hip-hop, rock and even dance which on paper may not necessarily work but on the contrary it very much does and this Brummie crowd are eating it up. Much like Sick Joy, their half an hour set flies by, ending with the hit 'All In' and genuinely leaving the audience and myself wanting more.
With the sound of dance melodies filling the venue and the gentle wash of a red light engulfing the stage we patiently wait for our headliners. Deaf Havana kick off with ‘Boston Square’ with its pounding drumbeat powering through straight into ‘Sing’ from their fourth album ‘All These Countless Nights’. James Veck-Gilodi’s vocals shine throughout their performance, even during ‘On The Wire’ where we’re made aware of some slight technical difficulties with his in-ears. Not that this affected his performance one bit, the technical hitch also gave us a little opportunity to spend some time listening to guitarist Mattew Veck-Gilodi and his opinion on local building work.
In-ears fixed and we’re back on the road; the venue by this point has definitely started to fill up more now but there’s still some patchy spots; it’s far from being a sellout tonight. Despite the setbacks Deaf Havana are still an incredibly tight act with the two Veck-Girodi brothers leading front and centre who could perform this set in their sleep, backed by an incredibly talented touring band. It may have been four years since Deaf Havana last visited the second city but this evening they show that they still have the chops and the emotional resonance they’ve always been known for.