THE anticipation in the air before Hunstanton rockers Deaf Havana take the stage at Birmingham’s The Institute was palpable.
The seven-piece group are riding the crest of the wave of success from their latest album Old Souls which was released to critical acclaim in the summer.
When I walked through the venue’s doors the wave of warm sweat-ridden air which hit me in the face rekindled memories of my teenage years when I used to a regular on the Birmingham gig circuit.
These days, my trips are less frequent but thanks to performances like the one Deaf Havana gave they are no less memorable.
The venue, if not completely full, is close to its 2,900 capacity and by the time I arrived support act Charlie Simpson – of Busted fame – was towards the end of his acoustic set.
Although it’s tempting to insert a generic ‘that’s what he goes to school for’ gag I’ll just say at least his music has matured since 2005 even if his haircut hasn’t.
But make no mistake; the crowd were there for Deaf Havana not a former boy band frontman.
The band have reinvented themselves since 2010 when singer Ryan Mellor, who was responsible for the group’s screamed vocals, departed.
Deaf Havana certainly occupy the more melodic end of the spectrum but it’s a position they are not only comfortable in but one in which they revel.
Opening with the most popular tracks can be a gamble which sometimes fails to pay off.
But fan-favourites Boston Square and Little White Lies go down a treat with their melodic verses and sing-a-long choruses.
Singer James Veck-Gilodi opened up to the crowd about times the group were told they would never make it in the music industry; the packed-out venue offered evidence to the contrary.
Their set mixes the energetic with the intimate - there’s even time for a cover of The Cure’s It’s Friday I’m In Love - before their 16-song set comes to an end.
This is Deaf Havana 2.0. Their melodic maturity is something which suits the band and pleases their fans.