The Dead Deads, Mr. Bella, Leaving Haven Concert Review

Local Bands Highlight HOB Showcase Night

I got the opportunity to see Leaving Haven live at House of Blues on Friday. I brought my daughter and some of her friends so they would get a chance to see a real live rock band, and expose them to something besides that pop music they’re always listening to.

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I got the opportunity to see Leaving Haven live at House of Blues on Friday. I brought my daughter and some of her friends so they would get a chance to see a real live rock band, and expose them to something besides that pop music they’re always listening to.

The last time I was at HOB was in December for the Black Mass tour, and things at Downtown Disney have changed a lot! The whole place is a big construction site, traffic is a mess, and parking is very different. Aside from that, we made the show right after the doors opened, and were rewarded by a group I’d never even heard of: The Dead Deads.

If you can imagine the result of Rob Zombie having love children with the Go-Go’s, who are then mentored by The Ramones, you might come up with this group. The Dead Deads are a five-piece, all-girl band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. They have toured with Halestorm, and are part of the lineup of September’s Motörboat, along with the likes of Motörhead, Slayer, Anthrax, Budderside, and many others. They took to the stage wearing black x’s across their eyes, walked up to their instruments and began their sonic assault on the audience with their upbeat, pop-punk song “Rainbeau”, during which singer Meta Dead broke her guitar and had to borrow one from another band that was there.

Recovering from their brief technical difficulty, the Dead girls continued to thrill those of us who attended the show with Hella Dead performing trippy synth effects, Meta and Betty Dead shredding through heavy riffs, Daisy Dead rocking her bass, and Billy Dead keeping it all together with rapid-fire drumbeats. They seemed genuinely happy to be at HOB, and kept us very entertained, interacting with the audience and smiling the whole time while performing songs like “Blackout”, “Sour Blooms”, and “Lemonade”.

We met them at their merchandise table after their set, where they were very amicable, posing for pictures with their fans, including my daughter, selling and signing stuff, and encouraging people to tag themselves at the show via social media. They informed me their next stop was in Jacksonville, and I later found out about their gig on the Motörboat. If you are lucky enough to have a Motörboat ticket, be sure to check out The Dead Deads. I know if I see them on a billing somewhere, I will be there if possible! Like them on Facebook:, and tell them Rarasfarm sent you. You can pick up their music at their website: .

Up next was a quartet from Tampa called Mr. Bella. Their music was like a fusion of hard rock and pop, vocalist Erin Marie’s style somewhere between Christina Aguilera and Amy Lee of Evanescence. Her band seemed kind of stiff, lacking a lot of showmanship. I feel like they could have brought more energy to the stage, but their sound was good, as they rocked through their set which included “Hurt Like Hell”, “Words”, and “So Long to Sanity”, which will receive airplay on WJRR when it is released this Halloween. For more information about Mr. Bella, here is their site: .

Leaving Haven was next up, and clearly the hometown crowd favorite. As the curtains opened, the attendees collectively cheered as the Melsenti brothers, Madison Macko, Mike Strippoli, and Trevor Hastings appeared from backstage, and began playing “Just Like You”. I’ve not yet been to a show where one band played hard rock, did an acoustic song, and performed a hip hop medley, but then I’d never witnessed Leaving Haven in their element before.

Hastings’ voice was silky smooth, his vocal style reminds me somewhat of Adam Levine of Maroon Five, and the rest of the band had a modern rock sound, but varied from song to song. They flawlessly performed such hits as “Hearts and Arrows”, my personal favorite “Johnny Greed”, and the house favorite “Look So Good”, which why I’ve never heard on the radio still eludes me.

Leaving Haven

But the most fun part of the entire set was the mixed bag of rap hits they snuck in, playing small parts of “Trap Queen”, “Gin and Juice”, “Turn Down for What”, and others, while Strippoli’s guitar reverberated through, giving the hip hop tracks a metal edge, which I loved, and Trevor rode a big wheel tricycle, then started break dancing. You other bands should be taking notes here. Leaving Haven absolutely killed it.

There was another band from L.A. called True Violet, but their music wasn’t really within my range of preferences, so I made my way to Leaving Haven’s merch booth, where I was thrilled to meet Mike Strippoli. He was kind enough to sign my daughter’s arm, and hook me up with some CD’s. Then I gathered up my troop of tired teens and we headed for the van. The next show, according to the website: is on August 8th, on the Victory Casino Cruise ship in Port Canaveral, but I would recommend if you have the chance to see these guys, you should definitely go. I know I will.

The website also has links with their tracks on it. Check it out, there’s some great music for everyone!

Philip Snyder

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