In support of their excellent new album ‘Alamort’, Norwich punks Ducking Punches returned to Yorkshire on 10th April for a show at The Key Club in Leeds.
Leeds based acoustic troubadour Andrew Cream opened the show to a the decent handful of people who’d made it down early. Playing a couple of new songs and a selection from his album ‘Self Portrait’, he seemed to go down really well with the attentive crowd. The highlight of his set was closer ‘The Final Straw’ which is an excellent song which you should go and listen to immediately.
Next up were Sheffield post-hardcore(?) mob Havelocke. They’re a decent live band and had some catchy songs, but they did seem an odd booking for this show. Their overall sound was more similar to Funeral For A Friend than it was to the rest of tonight’s line-up. Whilst not entirely my bag, they went down well with the rest of the room and I’m sure they’ll go on to bigger and better things in no time.
Dead Extras were the last of the supports. They’re a relatively new band who were playing with a stand in bassist tonight, a combination which can easily be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately for everyone involved, this wasn’t the case and their brand of fast, technical melodic punk really hit the spot. Frontman Matthew Wilson, easily the most excited man in the room this evening, managed to play some incredible lead guitar parts whilst singing and his energy onstage was infectious throughout the room. Perhaps at times there is too much going on at once, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Dead Extras are a great band, especially given how little time they’ve been playing together. I’m very interested to follow this band and see where they go.
Finally, the reason we were all there, Ducking Punches. Or so you’d think, the numbers had started to thin out a bit after Havelocke and Dead Extras, but that didn’t discourage Dan Allen and co. We were treated to a selection of songs from the band’s three albums, records which has seen Ducking Punches grow from a folk-punk act through to a massive sounding rock band. Gone are the acoustic guitars and violins, and it was really interesting to see and hear older songs such as Big Brown Pills From Lynn given a much bigger and fuller sound. Six Years was a particular highlight for me, along with the monologue beforehand about mental health and advise on the support networks that are available. I feel it’s very important for bands to use their platform to raise awareness of things like this, so it’s good to see a band on the up like Ducking Punches taking that message, and the message of Safe Gigs For Women, out on the road with them.
Late last year One For The Road had Dan from Ducking Punches on in York for a last minute solo show, and he played a couple of songs from Alamort for the first time, explaining that they were written with a full band and hadn’t ever been performed acoustic. They were great then, but songs like Smoking Spot and Sobriety with the full band offer a great insight into where this band is going. The two shows couldn’t be more different, and while it’s great to see Dan playing solo shows in tiny rooms, there’s evidence tonight to suggest that they could soon be a thing of the past.