Just before the Canadian punk-rock trio The Dirty Nil were set to head over the UK for their headline tour, disaster struck. Bassist Ross Miller slipped and broke his band, the band revealed across social media. Yet, as noted by the infamous phrase, the show must go on. Rather than cancel or postpone their scheduled European dates, they have roped in Billy Talent bassist Jon Gallant to take on Miller’s duties. And rather than sit at home wallowing in his misfortune, Miller has jumped across the Atlantic to become the band’s hype-man extraordinaire.
Queue a slightly unusual The Dirty Nil show, with Ross Miller’s antics taking centre stage. Bandmate, vocalist and guitarist Luke Bentham – still a showman of epic proportions – gives Miller enough space to indulge his whims, whilst drummer Kyle Fisher delivers with his characteristic energy. Gallant fits perfectly into proceedings, clearly massively enjoying his temporary new venture.
Together, The Dirty Nil plough through seventeen tracks bringing together fast-tempo punk and the swagger of rock and roll. Stretching across their two studio albums, including last year’s Master Volume, the setlist unfolds at rapid pace. And perched in-front of the gold shimmer curtain of the unique Moth Club venue, the band are met with a charged response from the packed crowd – not least during the emotionally heavy I Don’t Want That Phone Call.
Songs from their Higher Power debut are met with just as much enthusiasm, whipping their diehard fans into a frenzy. It’s testament to the impressive impact of The Dirty Nil’s comparably short career to date, one that marries the ferocity of punk, the grandstanding of rock and roll, their powerful songwriting and
some seriously impressive stage presence.
As has become their staple, The Dirty Nil deliver their live show with a stadium-ready energy. Donning a golden jacket, and with a permanent grin on his face, Bentham looks like he’d rather be nowhere else. Declaring tonight the best London show of their career to date, he leads an atmosphere nothing short of electric. By the end, The Dirty Nil – this time featuring Jon Gallant – leave the stage cemented as one of the best live acts on the scene.
The Dirty Nil have just completed their UK run. Keep an eye on Ticketmaster.co.uk to be one of the first to know when they are set to return. In the meantime, check out our pop and rock guide for more.
Photo by David Holt