Some good music at the Owl Sanctuary

Posted on November 26, 2017
I really really like liking things.

My first visit to the old Owl Sanctuary was in late January, a few days before it closed. A friend took me and I was surprised how charming it was. Owl murals painted on the wall, a variety of rock music on the playlist, and a Mettalica pinball machine. It wasn’t spoons cheap but it’s affordable. Across the room there was a radio crew interviewing the owner about the forced closure.

Five months later I was invited to the new Owl.

“Do you know what this place used to be?” My date asked.

“My grandmother said it was a jazz club,”

So the former strip-club has the same pinball machine - Wow when you pay a pound for three games it becomes a high stress situation - and the same art and flags - They have three anti fascist flags. Something that made a friend uncomfortable as he had just got ‘the richard spenser’ haircut. It’s becoming a regular haunt for me as I’ve started trying to attend gigs with friends.

Seeing local bands is great for my hipster ranking. Not to mention affordable and easy to get to. It also means I can see these acts more than once without following a tour. Here are a the bands I’ve seen at the Owl I’m itching to see again.

Birds of Hell

The first gig I went to after moving into Norwich was a night at the Murderers (The Gardeners Arms is called that as it used to be run by literal murderers). Birds of Hell was three men that night. Birds of Hell is sometimes a man named Pete and sometimes a full band lead by Pete.

I enjoyed them that time through my nervous confusion - Love The Anxiety™ - with a light soundcloud familiarity.

A year and a half later I see a solo show. Just one man in face paint with a loop pedal.

One thing recordings lack are liner notes. It was also cool to hear him talk about context for the songs. Spiderman’s Let Himself Go only makes sense if your town has men dressed as Spiderman holding placards advertising pizza, as he learned at a London gig, that’s not universal.

At the end of the show he thanked us for our attendance and said if we want to have a local music scene we should show up and bring friends.  Maybe because I had been hanging onto every word but that stuck with me. I had dragged two friends to the show that night. I must have been insufferable that night because I was contact drunk and getting excited at nearly every song. Look out Donald, you’re next.

My favourite song last year was Spiderman. Now I think it might be Boa but a video can’t fully transmit how that wall out sound hits you in the chest. Let’s Have the Windows Open has the layers of audio I love and has the experimental side that I think represents Birds of Hell best (doesn’t show the humour element much). Can anyone guess what this one is about?

Facebook and soundcloud


HANK filled in on a gig with Dr Clyde and Organisms (both worth a listen) and made such a nice surprise. I am easily won over by a heavy bass line and muddied vocals.  What I heard was warm and grungy and heavy and HANK.

My only complaint is the changing of time makes it hard for me to dance to.

Facebook and soundcloud


They might be from Suffolk but that’s local enough that they should have had a gig in town in January 8Now canceled because the Flamingo pub is closing down. They were supporting Birds of Hell and I wish I had more information than what I half-remember them telling me a month ago. Unwaves is two young men who do four jobs. Liam Roberts plays guitar and David Owen plays Drums with his right hand & legs and synth pad bass with his left hand and sings with his face. I needed this explained.

Theresin’t much about them online (I’m noticing a theme with these independent bands)  I hope next time I see them I get to see some of their projection work. The audio is a little breath-y on the video but gives you a feel for them.


Not local: Better days

Donald and I were so taken these nice boys that we both bought the t-shirt. These aren’t the Better Days from New Hampshire or the Better Days from Pennsylvania but the Better Days from Newcastle.

Pop Punk acts are so fun. We would have been jumping around like idiots even if we were sober. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for second gig within driving distance to show off our shirts. Mine was the last one of the ‘ghost on sofa’ set - the only one they had was a mens’ XXL and boy does the design not work when I took it in. I love ghosts.

They haven’t even been around for a year yet but have a nice little following. They clearly have someone who knows how to internet. And edit videos. 🌩️

Website has links to everything

Norwich Blog review of the night I attended my first local gig.