Ducking Punches review: Norwich’s top punk band
- Credit: Paul Jones
Norwich folk-punk rockers Ducking Punches finished their European tour perfectly on Sunday night on home soil with The Waterfront Studio in full party mode as Dan Allen and his band were joined by fellow tour mates Spanish Love Songs and We Bless This Mess.
I arrived just as Spanish Love Songs entered the stage and was instantly hit by the wall of sound generated by the in-house system complimented by the bands Orange guitar amps. It was impressively loud and clear and the Californian band sounded great. I'd never heard their music before and enjoyed it a lot, especially alongside their genuine and funny between song banter. They seems nice guys and have an instantly likeable sound, on the grittier side of American pop-punk. It was nice to see Dan and his bandmates join leader singer Dylan Slocum on stage to finish of an acoustic number towards the end of the set, which seemed a genuine and pleasant surprise to him. A nice gesture to mark the end of a tour where everybody apparently got on very well.
We then had to wait a long thirty minutes for Ducking Punches to re-enter the stage, but it was worth the wait. This was the second time I'd caught them after enjoying their headline at 2Q Festival in Lincoln back in September. That night they played a blinder, ironically straight after media darlings The Blinders, in front of a packed room of 200 people. Tonight they were on great form again, smashing through a lively 45 minute set that flew by.
One thing I'd like to highlight is Dan Allen's dedication to promoting awareness for mental health. At both gigs he has stopped to talk about this between songs after losing friends to suicide, and wants to see men talking more about feelings, and the problems of toxic masculinity. The song which has followed both times in tribute is very touching, and it was heart-warming to see several people in the crowd with their arms around each other.
Their set ended with my favourite song of theirs, 'Smoking Spot' from the 2018 album Alamort. It is a beautifully crafted, melodic punk-rock anthem which raised the roof, and ended the tour on a high. It surely marks Ducking Punches as Norwich's top punk band, and I can't wait to see them on the main stage at next Summers Sunday Sessions festival, in support of Noel Gallagher and High Flying Birds.