It’s easy to throw it out there and say Belfast was truly treated to a fantastic nights music once again, yadda yadda yadda, but tonight Belfast was indeed treated to a sublime nights entertainment in the form of three of the UK’s top and hottest young bands right now, Deaf Havana, The LaFontaines and newbies Hot Milk. All in the intimate setting of The Limelight 2, one of the smaller venues of the current run of Deaf Havana’s UK & Ireland Tour.
First on the stage are Manchester newbies Hot Milk, a fresh faced band who are having the year of their lives with a fantastic run of high profile support slots with not only Deaf Havana, but You Me At Six, Papa Roach, The Foo Fighters alongside Frank Carter North & South in Ireland, as well as appearances at Download and Reading & Leeds all in the midst of their debut EP Are You Feeling Alive? Dropping in May. We caught up with one half of their vocal duo Jim for a chat earlier today before tonight’s gig so keep an out on the site for the interview over the next few days, but at 7pm the lights dimmed and Hot Milk took their places. The next 30 minutes were filled with high energy, Pop-Rock infused set that was filled with highly addictive and huge sing-along songs that filled the room with a euphoric energy you could simply not ignore. From front to back people were singing along and buying into their charismatic charm. With duelling vocalists in Jim Shaw & Han Mee they’re like Paramore on steroids, Han bounces off Jim and Jim off Han as they slice their way through a dynamic set that wins over the Belfast crowd in no time at all. With such strong melodies and first class song-writing Hot Milk will be on everyone’s lips as 2019 turns into their year.
The last time I caught The LaFontaines they were supporting Don Brocco at The Mandela Hall, it was my introduction to the band and they were awesome live, tonight in the more intimate setting of The Limelight 2 they were fucking unbelievable! Tonight the trio commanded the stage; from front to back they absolutely nailed it. With quirky intricate guitar work fused with staggering drum patterns and frontman Kerr Okan’s sublime vocal delivery they had the room bouncing in minutes. The room exploded as Kerr directed the audience front to back to get involved and they oblige in full, arms in the air and mobile phones at the ready the room is vibrating with energy. Live these guys are unreal, their gnarly style resonates with crowds and is impossible no to get pulled into the mix. They absolutely slayed their set from start to finish knocking it out of the park and when their set closed the room absolutely erupted with approval. Well-played lads.
It had been around five years since Deaf Havana last graced a Belfast stage, then the young band were grafting away and starting to make real headway across the pond, Fools & Worthless Liars had resonated with the UK Rock youth, Old Souls was dropping big hitters like ‘Boston Square’ and yet a modest crowd attended the Mandela Hall to catch at the time, one of the UK’s finest up and coming Rock bands in the flesh. It can quite often be a challenge for UK bands to guarantee a decent crowd in Northern Ireland as we don’t have that nationwide Rock legacy that the UK has with the likes of Planet Rock to carry the flame, tonight however The Limelight 2 was rammed, by the time Deaf Havana hit the stage you couldn’t move. The lights dropped and they just lit the place up with a beautiful multi-coloured backlit light display that whilst looks stunning visually, is a photographers nightmare! But who gives a shit when Deaf Havana are absolutely pummelling the Belfast crowd with a blistering set that includes hits from their early days right through to their latest offering Rituals.
It’s a beautiful thing to watch a band grow, these guys have been grafting since 2005 and it shows, their last Irish performance in 2014 was stellar, but 2019 see’s them headline festivals across the UK such as Camden Rocks and 2000 Trees. Tonight’s performance is so polished, passionate and beautifully executed it’s flawless from start to finish, and it’s easy to understand why they’re now reaping the rewards for years of first class musicianship. Both Veck-Gilodi brothers are on fire whilst the backbone of the band slams out banging track after track. Deaf Havana has become a machine, rolling from city to city, consuming audiences in their droves. The light show was one thing, the music another, a majestic performance that Belfast will not forget for a while.
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