LIVE: Deaf Havana, Moose Blood @ The Quarterhouse, Folkestone

By Ben Tipple

The Deaf Havana of old are long gone. It might come as no surprise to fans of the band, but tonight is testament to the timely end of the ‘Friends Like These’ and ‘Nicotine and Alcohol Saved My Life’ screamsters. Not even stripped down renditions of tracks prior to 2011’s ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’ find their way onto tonight’s set list.

As frontman James Veck-Gilodi mused on ‘The Past Six Years’, he “made plans to be more than just that band, who had that song about friends and not much else.” Tonight, they are more than they have ever been.

What might come as a surprise to fans, however, is that we seemingly almost witnessed the end of Deaf Havana altogether. It’s all implied, but Veck-Gilodi is evidently taken aback by the audience’s reaction in the uncharacteristically busy Folkestone Quarterhouse. Between mocking his brother’s [Matthew Veck-Gilodi] questionable dress sense and openly discussing his failure at sobriety, James speaks of the band’s difficult months, their lack of rehearsal time, and questions over their future.

Tonight isn’t just about warming up for Reading and Leeds – tonight is therapy.

Moose Blood

Perhaps less so for support band Moose Blood, who appear to be celebrating frontman Eddy Brewerton’s recent nuptials by touring Kent. Including the obligatory shout-out to the new spouse, the band deliver the solid performance purveyors of the four-piece will have become accustomed to.

The anthemic ‘Bukowski’ appears alongside renditions of ‘Stay Here’ and ‘Boston’, with a rare performance of ‘Orlando’ thrown in to sweeten the pot. The new material on display continues along the emo revivalist movement lines, perhaps treading further into the 90s influences than their older works. What Moose Blood lack in on-stage energy they more than make up for with their bittersweet song-writing.

At some point drummer Glenn Harvey declares to the room that he is “bleeding quite badly”, which is met by suitable apathy by the remaining band. The show must go on.

And so it will for Deaf Havana. With a setlist taken exclusively from their recent two full-lengths, the Kings Lynn sextet have completed their transformation into melody led rockers. As James Veck-Gilodi’s vocals break into the occasional screams, it’s only to further portray the emotions of the introspective tracks. Having moved from discussing themes of disillusionment in the music industry to personal relationships and tragedies, the tracks are further exposed in a live environment.

Alongside the likes of We Are The Ocean, Deaf Havana now sit in an interesting position – no longer housed in the scene which raised them, instead evolving into a new beast altogether. If anything, their unrehearsed and afflicted state adds a depth which was close to being lost in the transition. As the final notes of set closer ‘Caro Padre’ ring out, Deaf Havana have offered an insight into their current state of mind – both worryingly melancholic and desperately exciting.