Concert Review: The Dirty Nil in Winnipeg

There are evenings that you'll remember forever. Sometimes, you're going to the concert venue not expecting too much and then the band just blows you away. Other times you know it's going to be a great gig - but you're still overwhelmed by the sheer power of the almighty guitar riff. The concert that The Dirty Nil played in Winnipeg on Tuesday can be numbered among the latter ones. Right from the heavily grooving start with "That's What Heaven Feels Like", the opener of the current album "Master Volume", to the encore with the Metallica cover "Hit The Lights" (the last song on "Master Volume"), The Dirty Nil delivered a thundering proof for why they are seen as one of Canada's best rock exports - and I'd even say one of the best rock bands worldwide.

Stars, Stripes and Studs: The Dirty Nil definitely
know how to put on a show.  Foto: Tinnitus Attacks
The first three songs of the evening were the same as on "Master Volume" - and since the band couldn't be prouder of their sophomore album the choice is certainly a no-brainer. With "No Weaknesses," the opener of the critically acclaimed debut album "Higher Power", the powertrio from Hamilton, Ontario, keeps up the state of euphoria that the audience is in. It didn't take so long to get there, and singer/guitar player/frontman Luke Bentham doesn't want to waste a second of the show. So there he is, clad in a black shirt that seems to unite glam (stars), country (stripes) and metal (studs) and it's just a pleasure to see him play, pose and completely get lost in his music. A dandy and at the same time a Rock'n'Roll Worker with great skills in melodies and hulking guitar scapes. Bass player Ross Miller gets to play a different part in this: Dressed in a green overall, he keeps on gazing and you can't help feeling a madman vibe. Meanwhile Kyle Fisher is thrashing his drumkit with unbridled energy. Except for two titles The Dirty Nil play all the new songs of "Master Volume", displaying dynamic changes as in "Smoking Is Magic" or the stomping "Auf Wiedersehen" (with the sing-along line "Can't you see you're a fuck-up just like me"). The latter song was dedicated to Chappie, a cute little dog they met on their way to Winnipeg when their van broke down and they had to get towed.

What a night it was!             Foto: Tinnitus Attacks
The evening also shows you how boring discussions a la "Rock is dead because Beyoncé rules the world" are. Maybe rock doesn't have the mainstream importance as in decades past - but who gives a shit about trends anyway? I know I never did, I just want music to be heartfelt and handmade. I never thought of The Dirty Nil as a band indulging in dated rock sounds (I read that somewhere lately) - quite the contrary actually. With "Higher Power" they brought an injection of fresh enthusiasm to guitar music that felt just so perfect. And judging from the craze the band sent us all into, the whole "What's hot"-debate can be just the same to us.

Dead Soft - check them out if you haven't already.
                                     Foto: Tinnitus Attacks 

An important part of the evening were the two bands that opened for The Dirty Nil: I can definitely see why Dead Soft were there. With an equally massive guitar sound and great songs, they were the band that I discovered on this evening (leading to lots of merch carried home). Eamon McGrath and his band added a nice countryesque touch to the evening with Darrek Anderson playing the pedal steel guitar.

There are more pictures on my Flickr Page.