AN emerging songwriter has described venues like Warrington’s Old Town House as integral to UK culture.

Less than a year ago friends and bandmates Jen Burgess and Cait Costello, better known as folk punk duo Hello Mabel, joined forces to reopen the Buttermarket Street bar.

Since then it has quickly become a hub for the town’s alternative scene with numerous bands performing every weekend, including some from overseas.

Many of the gigs are free and Old Town House also plays host to festivals, giving a platform to artists who might otherwise perform outside of Warrington.

Norwich pop punk band Ducking Punches are performing there tonight, Thursday.

The four-piece have almost 1,000 gigs under their belt and frontman Dan Allen said that is thanks to other similar grassroots, DIY venues.

He said: “I think venues like Old Town House are integral to culture in the UK.

“It’s not just about punk rock, DIY venues like that help develop talent in the area and give young people somewhere to go and belong.”

As heard on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show, Ducking Punches will be playing in Warrington in support of their new album, Alamort.

The record saw them cast off Dan acoustic roots for an altogether heavier, full band sound.

Dan, 30, added: “I wanted to move away from the folk punk tag that we had.

“For the first four years Ducking Punches was just me so it’s felt like a natural progression with the band.

“I wanted to write more melodic punk so that’s what we did.

“The new record is heavier and lyrically more honest than before.

“It was quite a cathartic album for us to write as a band. I’ve moved to electric guitar now. We don’t have any violin or acoustic instruments so it’s quite a change but it’s been great so far.”

Alamort saw the band head to Crooked Rain Studio in Leeds for 10 days to team up with Bob Cooper, who has worked with the likes of The Orielles.

Dan said: “It was amazing working with Bob. He has the ears of a super human. He hears things that you would never notice and his attention to detail is incredible.

“It was a really fun way of working because everything was so clear and fine tuned.

“He did such a good job of it all and really cares about every single element of the record. That comes across in the finished piece.”

Before that, Ducking Punches’ highlights have included doing two tours with folk punk icon Frank Turner and performing at high profile UK festivals like Reading and Leeds, Download and BoomTown.

They have also been welcomed in the United States where they have done two East Coast tours and one West Coast tour as well as playing at The Fest in Gainesville, Florida.

Dan added: “Going to some of the cities that we’ve always wanted to see like Seattle, Portland and New York felt so surreal and we were made to feel so welcome. We had the best time out there.

“The Fest in Gainesville takes place at loads of different venues across one town so it’s similar to something like Camden Rocks.

“But the punk community takes over Gainesville for the weekend and it’s amazing. We’ve been very lucky.

“The punk scene is like a gigantic family and everyone looks out for each other. Everyone makes sure it’s the most progressive, safest environment it can be.

“It’s super inclusive. There’s no other scene I’d rather be a part of.”

Dan originally got into music through his dad’s record collection. They bonded over The Clash.

He said: “I’ve always been surrounded by music. My dad was terrible trumpet player but he used to listen to a hell of a lot of music, particularly punk and two-tone, when I was growing up.

“I just wanted to pick up a guitar. I learnt classical guitar to start with then my auntie gave me an electric and that changed my life.

“When I was 11 or 12 I decided I didn’t want to play other people’s songs anymore and I started writing. It came quite naturally to me and I found it a therapeutic process from a young age.”

  • Ducking Punches perform at Old Town House with Jake and the Jellyfish and Arms and Hearts on Thursday. Doors open at 7pm