April 1st 2014 | Norwich UEA LCR | Gigs
Words: Edward Gizzi | Photo: Karly Edge
The stage was set: The People The Poet and The Maine had warmed our cockles for the main event, and now, standing proud on stage at UEA LCR, the spotlight shines down on James, as he takes a breather after their opening number. He rubs his face and grasps a guitar given to him by a stage hand. He bows his head ever so slightly and looks into the crowd, and tells us: "We're a band.. called Deaf Havana..." The crowd roars with excitement and James turns and points to their lighting rig and continues: "...if you couldn't already tell by the very arrogant lighting rig we've brought in." The crowd roars again with the sound of cheers and applause, boosting the confidence of James and the band. But James has every right to feel confident, with the crowd hanging onto his every word: their new album "Old souls" had gone straight to number one in the UK rock charts.
The show had opened with "Lights"; the stage igniting in a yellow glow and the crowd going mad as James approached the microphone. Before long he was breaking into smiles as everyone was singing the lyrics back to him. The evening progressed with further songs: "22", "Little White Lies", "Night Drives" and "Boston Square". Later the opening guitar to "I'm a bore mostly" set the room alight, as the popular song was performed live down to T!
James transformed on stage into a iconic rock icon - a tad different from his coastal self. He spoke to the crowd so confidently about growing up in Norfolk and how it is probably the best place to have grown up to quote him "because we got away with so much here". And with that he took a 12 string acoustic guitar, and upon hearing his first G-major strum, the crowd knew what was coming. The stage was enveloped in a warm pink glow for "Hunstanton Pier". And as he sung the first few lyrics ("It was 2004, if I'm not mistaken / When the poison hit my lips and I haven't looked back since") before turning back to look at the band and then smiling at the crowd. With every breath they followed him, singing with him. He whispered into the microphone as we reached the chorus: "Help me out". When the final chorus came, they sang as loud as they could. James was beaming!
As the evening came to a close the crowd where blessed with three encore songs - "The World or Nothing", "Nicotine and Alcohol Saved My Life", and "Caro Padre" - before Deaf Havana left the stage and the stage lights dimmed and the house lights came up. For this gig, they earned a well deserved 10 out of 10, although the reviewer would liked to have heard "The Past Six Years" (but you can't have everything!).