Norwich locals Ducking Punches released their third album, Alamort, to rave reviews. We caught up with them before their hometown release show at the Arts Centre.

Alamort came out yesterday, how have you found the reception?

Dan: Great, we’ve had such a positive response from everyone. We were really nervous, it’s such a big change in sound. It’s heavier, I think people always like heavier.

What triggered the sound change?

D: Well, we had a line-up change with Marcus and Ryan coming in and I was fed up with playing acoustic guitar. We all play electric now, which naturally changes the sound, and these guys put their own stamp on it.

Marcus: Some songs on Fizzy Rain were leading to a rockier sound anyway so it shouldn’t be too much of a departure for some people but it is definitely a big step away.

You have always been unashamedly a Norwich band, has that affected the music at all?

D: We do reference Norwich in songs and it helps to write about your locality and things that affect your life.

Ryan: It keeps you grounded as well, big rock stars, am I right?

Is there a way you approach local shows that’s different from others?

M: I think we try to be grander.

D: People have seen us play tiny venues and pubs in Norwich for years, so we want the release show to be big. We also are really careful with picking our support lineup.

M: We also look at what we can do like making special merch or putting stuff on stage. To make it more fun. Like with the skeletons we have, we want to make a statement and have people remember it.

The skeletons?

M: Wait until you see the stage.

How would you describe Alamort in one sentence for those who haven’t heard you before?

R: A heavy, honest declaration of who we are.

M: Wow. It’s a… I don’t know, whatever I say’ll be rubbish compared to that.

D: A heavier, more honest declaration of who we are. In a sentence, I guess, it’s an album we made with our entire heart and soul bare and it’s an album that was really cathartic to right and it’s an album that focuses on positivity far more than previous releases.

M: It’s an album that is the sum of influences and experiences in our lives so far.

Live at the Arts Centre

One day after the drop of their critically-acclaimed fourth album, Alamort, Ducking Punches were preparing to play the official release show at the Arts Centre. There’s an awareness that today is a moment the band will look back on in years.

Warming up the crowd are Grieving, a Cambridge alt-rock band. Despite technical issues, they put on on an admirable show, made even more respectable by the fact they did it with a broken guitar.

Following Grieving are Watford punks Nervus. With an undeniable charisma and catchy choruses, it is impossible not to fall in love with the quartet. Bouncing, dancing and joking the band get the room moving, laughing and ready for Ducking Punches.

As the lights go down, the intro tape plays and 10 foot paper mache are the only thing lit up, Ducking Punches emerge to their coronation as the city’s favourite sons. Opening with I Was Uncomfortable, the band show what they set out to do tonight: put on the best damned punk show Norwich has seen since Nirvana graced the same stage over 25 years ago.

With a bumper setlist spanning their career so far, the band celebrate Alamort and their new direction without forgetting their roots. It’s intimate and sweaty, like any good punk show, but you almost feel like you are part of the family. Frontman Dan gets his brother to do a birthday stagedive, goading him with a reminder of the time their dad did it. With a heartfelt tribute to lost friends who couldn’t be in the room tonight before playing Six Years, there’s a feeling of loss shared by all in the room.

Triumphant, affecting and raw, Ducking Punches homecoming is a damned fine punk show. It’s a celebration of music, friends, family, Norwich and being together. With the power the band show on stage, it’s safe to say that 2018 is Ducking Punches’ year.