Punk Rock Stars in their Eyes @ TOSN

Posted on January 8, 2018
Cropped top of poster reading "punk rock stars in their eyes. local bands being big bands" designed by cal hudson design

Somehow I had another Saturday night off work and I was double booked. Another C-Red gig at the arts centre and a punk rock covers night at the owl. I don’t know if anyone is trying to revive Red Wedge but Norwich Labour party is putting gigs on. I enjoyed the last on with Sink Ya Teeth

I picked the owl. I’d never seen such a big line up of (mostly) local acts before, excluding weekend long events. While I want to see Peach Club and Black Shuck I know they play regularly and the last C-Red audience was mostly older people and one hot anarchist.

Punk Rock Stars in their Eyes was raising money for two local charities: The Norwich soup movement and the people’s picnic. Both provide hot meals and sandwiches to the hungry on the haymarket. It’s not just the rough sleeping homeless who use their services, according to their Facebook. The poor, elderly people and, others who can’t prepare their own food are served. A better cause then trying to make Labour cool.

The Night

Because of a past history of gigs at the owl starting late, I didn’t rush down. I’d missed the online announcement that things were starting earlier. Rather than doors at seven it was first act on at 6:50.

screenshot of the event facebook page " Ducking Punches as Papa Roach Marigolds as Jimmy Eat World Franko Fraize as The Streets The Royals as Red Hot Chilli Peppers Other Half as Smashing Pumpkins Soyuz Rats as The Prodigy Dreyfus as New Found Glory Generals as The Strokes Smalls as Queens of the Smalls Age Tom Aylott as Against Me!It's going to be a rager"
Band listing from the facebook event page

I arrived during “Converge,” which was fine as I was most excited for “The Prodigy” and “Papa Roach”.

The mood

It was a good mood. Bumped into a couple I used to work with and everyone seemed to be having fun - except the woman infront of me who was texting someone all night she “wanted to work things out” with. It was loud and I’m glad I brought ear plugs. Two days deafness after the Heavy Metal Ding Dong was difficult.

There is something about being surrounded by strangers and noise that lets me relax. It drowns out most of my anxiety. There was a group at the front jumping around and cheering for their friends. They even lifted up on guy for a crowd surf. I don’t think he was in a band. I spent my time two people back and shout-mumbling along.

The crowd was a mix. Lots of subcultures and normies turning out for a good cause.

I tried the holding one arm in the air and moving it with the lyrics thing. Just reminded me of Christian youth group. That time I was copying to hopefully understand the appeal.

10 frame gif of a jumping crowd lit in purple in front of a band. front man shirtless in a blonde wig as costume. The Royals are pretending to be Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The Royals as Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Music

Other Half as Smashing Pumpkins

Turns out I do not know all the words but the rest of the crowd filled in the blanks. Nice.

Dreyfus as New Found Glory

Someone displaced the stage elves to hang a New Found Glory banner. Shouting along to half remembered choruses was great fun. Pop punk makes it easy to get swept up in the mood of the crowd. All hits, no misses.

Soyuz Rats as The Prodogy

I’d heard Soyuz Rats online and figured they had the skill to play break beat on a bass guitar. They played well but their performance lacked the energy of The Prodigy. An unreasonable expectation? Maybe, this is a lot of energy.

I wanted an opportunity to mosh and flail…

The Royals as RHPC

I can’t google a name like The Royals. It seemed like a big deal that they had the original line-up.

Great stage presence. They did a smashing job in their costumes (shirtlessness and a cheap wig) that you can see in the gif above. Back to jumping around the rowdy boys at the front brought back the enthusiasm. The Royals has picked some of the best known songs from a large back catalog and had fun with it.

They responded to the chants for “one more song” with something I didn’t recognise but the lads at the front knew all the words to.

Ducking Punches as Papa Roach

they do in fact have 3 big hits, not 2 as I previously thought – whoever wrote the promo material

When most of the band hit the stage I knew I would be happy. They had the all black outfits and messy black eyeliner. Then their lead singer comes out. Dressed as a cockroach.

ducking punches as papa roach. guitarist in the background is smiling at the lead singer dressed as a roach. he is holding a can of monster engery

Ducking Punches had a great stage presence. They are a band I’ve seen posters for forever but I’d never seen them. Now I have plans to see them in February. Papa Roach is just great fun. I still put the Infest album on. Everyone was jumping around and shouting along.

The Politics

The two charities being collected for provide services directly to the homeless and poor in Norwich. The Norwich Soup Movement and The Peoples’ Picnic. They distribute food and other supplies at the haymarket. It had to be political. Several of the performers talked about the police treatment of homeless people. There was a “There are no good coppers! shout.

ACAB is maybe a common sentiment among punks and activists but I think a fundraiser for a soup kitchen might have a specific reason for it. While individual police might not have a say on the laws they enforce the do enforce them.

Operation Wormington is an ongoing crackdown on “antisocial behaviour” such as begging and street drinking. It has been a long source of contention. A dispersal order/direction to leave just moves a homeless person from the city centre. They are still sleeping on the streets, just a different street outside the ring road. There are so many more people on the streets this year. I get that it is uncomfortable to be asked for money but the cold and rain is more uncomfortable. There are a few links at the bottom of this page.

One performer - This was over three weeks ago and I can’t remember anything - after cries for a rant, even dropped a “FUCK MARK SHEPHERD!”

So Sgt Shepherd of the Safer Neighborhood Team is known for his tweeting about his beat. Including dispersing/arresting homeless people for begging. On the day of writing he linked to an Eastern Daily Press article about a 51 year old woman being given a court date for begging (after being banned from doing it within the ring road). I know her face. She helped me with a jammed bike lock once. I know she sleeps rough because I have ridden home at 1am after work and seen her.

Tweet from Sgt Mark Shepherd who raised ire from the Norwich Soup Movement. Images show the road the order was given on and a picture of a monopoly “go directly to jail” card. A direction to Leave is a “go away” for up to 48 hours.

The vape

The fire alarm went off half way through. It turned out to be caused by someone vaping in the toliets. Some people headed straight home so it thinned out the crowd a little. Don’t vape inside, kids. Yes, that means you Donald.

The money

£255 was raised that night. The recommended minimum was £3. I’m surprised at how little was raised by the number of people there. Maybe I don’t understand how these things work.


So fun. I’ll be there next year (if there is one) and will bring people (my usual gig-mates were busy). The event had such a positive vibe.

Watching a recording of The Prodigy at a cinema with my then & now best friend is such a fond memory. We got up and danced in front of the seats with strangers. A big deal for teens.

Norwich Soup Movement FB post

EDP Article

Why do the Police need to be at the Haymarket?