The Dirty Nil - Live in Toronto (Cover Artwork)

The Dirty Nil

Live in Toronto (2019)

live show

The Dirty Nil blew the roof off of Toronto’s sold out Phoenix Concert Theatre on November 28th. The Dundas, Ontario rockers delivered a show for the ages along with openers Dear-God and Single Mothers.

The Phoenix is a medium sized venue that holds 1350 people with the majority of space being on the floor. Never one to back down from some good old-fashioned moshing, I was on the floor.

Brampton based Dear-God were the first opener and took to the stage right on time. They began with the lead singer and occasional guitarist yelling “Fuck Christopher Columbus” before launching into a set comprised of new, unheard material as they only had 1 or 2 songs available online prior to playing the show. Their sound is very interesting and energetic, blending together elements of noise, punk, and hip-hop/rap. A small mosh pit opened up during one of the songs that the crowd was familiar with. They played for about half an hour and left the stage to a smattering of claps and “woos”.

After a roughly ten-minute stage change, Single Mothers came out to a crowd buzzing with excitement. I’ve wanted to see Single Mothers live for years and I was not disappointed. Drew Thomson bursted with endless energy, moving his hands to the music like a manic conductor and was constantly in a state of movement, like he was possessed by the music. Every single person in the band was on top of their game and played loudly and with inexhaustible energy, which inspired a mosh pit that lasted almost their entire set. They played a mixture of songs from Through a Wall, Our Pleasure, and Negative Qualities as well as two new songs. One of the new songs was called “Enough For You”, a driving, groovy song that featured wonderful drum work from Brandon Jagersky. The crowed went absolutely batshit crazy during “Metropolis”, “Undercover” was dedicated to anyone who was currently in a band, during “Dog Parks” someone splashed me with beer, “Switch Off” was flawless, and “Leash” got more people singing along. Single Mothers were joined by Dirty Nil front man Luke Bentham for their final song, “Money” off of Negative Qualities. I would go see Single Mothers again in a heartbeat.

A chant of “Dirty Nil” began during the stage changeover and continued until the lights went out.

The fog started rolling off the stage underlit by red light and the chorus of Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba” filled the air, announcing the Dirty Nil’s imminent arrival. The band hit the stage and started in on “Idiot Victory” with powerful energy. They launched into “Bathed in Light” immediately afterward in a seamless transition of both music and lights. After the briefest of introductions from bassist Ross Miller, they dove into “No Weaknesses”. Once again everyone showed up on the very top of their game and played the show with so much energy and joy that it was impossible to try to imagine the Dirty Nil doing anything else but playing music. This is what they were made for. There was a mosh pit going for the majority of their set, fueled by the Dirty Nil’s relentless energy and pace. The crowd (myself included) was singing every line back starting at the first song and going until the end of their set. There was a brief break to catch your breath when they played a “Toronto-exclusive” new song called (if I heard correctly) “Jealous”, which was catchy and wonderful, conveying what a pain in the ass jealousy is with great riffs. “Astro Ever After” was prefaced with a brief tribute to a late dog (“he might have been an asshole, but he was our asshole”), “I Don’t Want That Phone Call” was delivered with so much passion and depth it blew me away, when “I mean this in a nice way/FUCK YOU” was sung in “Auf Wiedersehen” the place shook with the force of people singing along and everyone thrust two middle fingers into the air. “Caroline” was an unexpected highlight and the Dirty Nil ended the show with Queen’s “We Are the Champions”, a tribute to the late Jon Box.

This was the second time that I had been lucky enough to be able to go to a Dirty Nil show and once again they blew me away. They are one of the best live bands out there today, hands down. They bring electrifying energy to the stage and always put on a great show, no matter what. I would see the Dirty Nil again without a doubt. If you haven’t seen them yet, do yourself a favour and go. God is Dead, Long Live the Nil.