What to do? The World Series was on, but UK dreamrockers Haven were in town. Luckily, the Haven show was scheduled late, so I could see both. Sadly, my Giants didn't complete the comeback to my satisfaction, but Haven most definitely fulfilled requirements, and then some. The band first did a short interview and acoustic set on LIVE 105, playing "Say Something" and "Beautiful Thing" for the listeners of Aaron Axelsen's "Soundcheck" show, frontman Gary Briggs' angelic voice sounding just as amazing as it does recorded. Next up, the gig with Division of Laura Lee at the Justice League.
A little word about the Justice League: it's primarily a hip-hop venue. The only other rock show I'd ever seen there was Fu Manchu and that was weird beyond belief, anyway. However, the sound for DOLL and Haven was much better than I had feared. DOLL rocked through a number of songs from their Epitaph release, Black City, including my two personal favorites, "Need To Get Some" and the album's title track. The band even treated the audience to some new work "written on the trip down from Seattle." With that, the Division left the stage and thrty minutes later the quartet who now reside in Manchester hit the stage.
This was my second time viewing the band, the first time being a wonderful gig at Water Rats in London last November. The band blew me away that time and they sounded just as good on this occasion. Briggs and fellow guitarist Nat Wason led the aural assualt, their swirling and squalling guitar lines laying the sonic groundwork for Briggs' incredible, wide-ranging vocal lines to float over. Virtually all of the material was from their debut album, Between The Senses, which came out early this year in the UK and hit US shelves at the end of August. Standout tracks on the evening included "Say Something," "'Til The End" (Cornerstone Player .024), "Outside" and "Holding On." It wasn't hard to see why Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr had flown the Haven flag from a very early date and why he wanted to produce their album and bring his band's old manager Joe Moss (who was in attendance) on board. While this wasn't the biggest or most populated venue they've ever performed in, the band still played it up to the crowd, drawing us in with both their musical prowess and energy. The band finished up with first US single "Let It Live," also found early on in their existence on CSP .028, and headed backstage, while the rest of us headed off into the cool night air, ears still ringing with the stratosphere-scraping sonic gems of Haven.