Life is all about connections. For musicians, making a connection where, through music, you can share pain, joy, happiness, anger, must be one of the key reasons why many pick up an instrument, scribble lyrics across a note book or spend days in backs of ramschackle vans, travelling from town to town for little or no reward.
The thrill of finally getting that connection with the audience must surely be what drives many on. Having a connection with an audience- bringing them happiness, bringing them joy, bringing them comfort through their pain, bringing them an escape route from humdrum jobs, even if only for a short while, is a privilege and must be thrilling when you realise that you have got that connection, when you’ve got “it”. Make no mistake, Deaf Havana have got “it”.
Actually, Deaf Havana don’t just have a connection- they appear to have a following and devotion that is second to none. I haven’t seen a band connect so wholeheartedly with an audience since I was last watching Iron Maiden and, if you know me, you will know this is high praise indeed. Deaf Havana’s show at the Clapham Grand is, as these things go, a bit of a stormer. There is a level of collective confidence about this band at the moment- you get the sense that they could just be on the verge of making that breakthrough from being underground darlings to the band that soundtracks the football scores on a Saturday evening- yes, that kind of crossover.
With a backdrop logo lit up by Las Vegas style lights and the band flanked by a string section and four backing singers, this is clearly a band who are thinking about a very bright future. And so they should, quite frankly. A splendidly balanced set list covers all the bases that you would hope- highlights to your humble scribe’s ears included exuberant versions of 22, a gutsy and passionate Leeches and a heartwarming Caro Padre. I say “included” deliberately as I found pretty much the entire set to be a hugely enjoyable one- I like the shifts between Springsteen infused rock n roll through to homesick melancholia (but without any of the self serving importance that would seem to suggest) and then back again to life affirming singalong. And, boy oh boy, this audience knew how to singalong- it was like being at a rugby international.
This was an energetic and energised show of the first order and, in two years time when this band are packing large arenas and headlining festivals those lucky enough to have obtained a ticket will be able to have a wistful smile to themselves and say, yeah, I was there. Brilliant.