(PHOTO CREDITS: MB PHOTOS SCOTLAND)
The east end of Glasgow is best known for the infamous Barrowlands Ballroom but there is a new venue round the corner that is growing steadily in popularity. St Luke’s is a converted church - converted in terms of its use at least, as it still boasts stained glass windows, pews and a church organ behind the drum riser of tonight’s act Deaf Havana.
On arrival at the venue, fans are treated to a display of acclaimed photographer Wolf James’ artwork. Photographs from her ‘My Love Is Lethal’ series adorn the band’s new album ‘Rituals’ and seeing them on entering this hallowed room creates an extra dimension to what is sure to be an emotional show.
Deaf Havana have grown to almost mythical status among their loyal fanbase and the recent release of ‘Rituals’ signals the self realisation of the band since its formative years. Tonight’s show is part of a series of signing sessions and live shows across the UK and the venues chosen are deliberately smaller to enhance the band-fan connection. The line up of James Veck-Gilodi, Lee Wilson, Tom Ogden and Matthew Veck-Gilodi are sadly missing the keyboard skills of Max Britton tonight as he is at home tending to his sick wife.
The band step onstage without pomp or ceremony and say “Hi” to the small but engaged audience, opening with ‘Worship’ from the new album. Frontman James Veck-Gilodi is a vision of modesty in a peaked cap, t-shirt and jeans. This is no theatrical performance as the band let the music (and the venue) paint the picture, such is the power of the ‘Rituals’ material.
The set consists a short set of nine songs all of which are from the new album (bar one) but the short performance is well received with many in the crowd singing along despite the fact the album was only officially released days before the show. ‘Sinner’ is one such song and has the crowd singing in a truly special moment that just shows the knowledge and dedication of the gathered audience.
For tracks ‘Hell’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Holy’ the band leave frontman Veck-Gilodi alone to play unaccompanied. He admits he intended to play with the absent keyboard player Britton but the solo performance simply adds to the passion given the singer’s writing is a lesson in inward reflection.
The singer is honest in his initial fears that the new album’s change of direction would see those loyal fans, who had been with him since the early days, leave in their droves. The response from the Glasgow crowd proves this isn’t the case and a smile is raised when the infamous Glasgow audience shout “You’re no’ bad!”. The response “I love playing Glasgow cause you give me shit” wins those in the crowd who were perhaps wary of the new material.
The one song that appeared from an earlier album (All These Countless Nights) ‘Fever’ is a beautiful track that proves that the new material does have links to older releases and is actually not too far removed from some of the band’s earlier output in style and passion.
The final song ‘Evil’ closes with the singer stepping down from the stage and hugging a fan who had been vocal through the show, much to everyone’s delight. This moment captured perfectly how the band have found a refreshing honesty in their new work that has strengthened the ties with the people that make it happen - the fans.
The band will continue their UK tour and I would recommend grabbing a ticket if you can. You can find out more here:
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