Not only are Deaf Havana and The Xcerts brilliant at London’s Islington Assembly Hall, the evening also captures a glimpse of transience: one door opens, another closes. With The Xcerts drawing the curtain on ‘There Is Only You’ and Deaf Havana back on the road, with new songs and an album on the horizon, tonight is a snapshot of two bands in perfect balance.
From the opening clatter of ‘Live Like This’ through the swelling glee of ‘Shaking In The Water’, The Xcerts throw themselves into every moment. Having grown from cloaked recluse to fully-fledged star in the space of an album, frontman Murray Macleod wails, tumbles and swaggers about the stage. It would almost look ridiculous if the band weren’t having the absolute best time. A realigned ‘There Is Only You’ brings things to a close with a more lush, adoring reflection. If the band can get this energy and confidence into album four well, I’d start getting excited now.
Already riding a wave of new album excitement is Deaf Havana. The band released ‘Cassiopeia’ earlier this year and it hinted at a band who had rediscovered their purpose. The show tonight confirms it. Deaf Havana are back. The opening flourish of ‘The Past Six Years’ saw vocalist James Veck-Gilodi leading a choir of discontent before the rugged wall of ‘Youth In Retrospective’ slammed through the room. ‘Cassiopeia’ swiftly followed, removing any doubt that this was a night for nostalgia.
Throughout the sixteen song set, Deaf Havana sound complete. Every instrumental twist and vocal turn is at one with the rest of the band and this united front devastates the welcoming rabble before them. “Thank you very much for waiting around for us to fucking sort ourselves out. We’re ready to do it again,” offers James with absolute conviction. “We’ve got pretty much a whole record written,” teases guitarist and brother, Matthew while later James claims it’s “a fucking great record.” That’s a story for another time though. As ‘Anemophobia’ rounds out the night with beautiful poignancy, the door is wide open for the next chapter of Deaf Havana.