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Deaf Havana / Black Foxxes / Decade http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/a1/6a/73/Deaf-Havana-Live-49-1516649957.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 22, 2018    
 
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Deaf Havana / Black Foxxes / Decade - Y Plas, Cardiff (UK) - 24 November 2017

Opening on a three band bill is never easy. For any band it must feel like a race to get as many songs played in the short allotted time as possible and with minimal crowd banter so as not to waste precious time, and so it is with Decade, an extremely talented band with a maturity that belies their years. Seven songs of bright sparky Brit Pop-tinged Grunge-orientated Rock all culled from the latest album 'Pleasantries' is the order of the day from the boys from Bath. Invited onto the tour by tonight's headliners, the band, and in particular front-man Alex Sears, just seem pleased to play the music that they love in front of a decent sized crowd on a relaxed Friday night. Opening with the Stone Temple Pilots meets Blur-tinged Rocker 'Anaemia' followed by the speedy Seattle-influenced 'Human Being' prove in themselves that with the right support and promotion this band could easily be going places. Add to that a commercial edge that has broad appeal – witness the 'Nevermind' roots of 'Turn Off Your TV' and the bright and breezy excellence of 'Daisy May' – and here's a band that buck the trend by doing something far less cookie cutter but no less appealing than the mainstream. Most opening acts commonly garner cursory looks and the odd hand clap out of courtesy as people mill to and from the bar as they load up on alcohol for the main attraction. Unusually Decade draw a lot more attention, people are more attentive and the bar area is empty, perhaps aware that this isn't just a support band that makes up the numbers or goes through the motions but rather a band who are great musicians, enjoy their craft and despite their lowly position on the bill are really rather brilliant.

Black Foxxes are already making quite a name for themselves and it's easy to see why the major labels have been queuing up to do business with them. Despite the adulation, they remain on Spinefarm records who have a knack of signing talented young bands shortly before they break. Black Foxxes, like Decade, shun the polished bandwagon Rock favoured by the US and instead go for something a little rawer, honest and infinitely more original. Once again, it's a case of getting on with the business in hand in front of an appreciative observing crowd who, it has to be said, are more 'Newsnight' than mosh pit, preferring to drink in the excellent seven song set rather than participate in it.

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We get two songs from the upcoming 'Reiði' album, including the Jimmy Eat World-tinged 'Manic In Me' and 'Saela', the kind of foot tapping anthem that will appeal to the mainstream without the band selling out. The other five songs (as you'd expect) come from 2016's debut 'I'm Not Well', highlights being the superb rendition of 'Husk' and the raw Indie Rock of 'Whatever Lets You Cope'. If the new songs are anything to go by then the upcoming album should be a cracker and it looks like 2018 will be a very big year for the band.

Kings Lynn's finest Deaf Havana have star quality in spades with the songs to boot. Morphing from their Post Hardcore beginnings the band has quickly established a commercial Pop Rock sound that now ensures crossover appeal. Latest album 'All These Countless Nights' confirmed what we were already beginning to glean from its predecessor 'Old Souls' that James Veck-Gilodi has one of the finest voices in Rock today. When you have such an asset you'd think it would be used to its full potential, but the mixing desk gets it horribly wrong, meaning that most of the nuances, power and melody were lost from his performance. With a set-list comprising the bulk of the songs from the latest album, stirring versions of 'Trigger', 'Fever' and 'Like A Ghost' were sullied only by the almost inaudible vocals. Mattering little to the crowd, perhaps due to the pleasures of Friday night alcohol, who bounce along merrily to every riff, chant or drum beat despite the glaring omission from the mix, it means that all is not lost. On the quieter moments, such as the emotional 'Happiness' or the acoustic 'Seattle', there was a chance to hear Veck-Gilodi's glorious subtleties; a reminder how good this guy really is. I would've liked to have heard a few more songs from the 'Old Souls' album such as '22' but on the whole the set-list wasn't the defining factor in determining the overall quality of this concert. This was a good performance by Deaf Havana, not a great one and the blame for that must lie firmly with those in charge of the mixing desk; for a band that rely on vocal melody from a superb vocalist that really is unbelievable.

Mike Newdeck

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