LIVE REVIEW: The Dirty Nil, WACO, The Black Heart, Camden, 21/02/2016
Set away from the wandering eye, down two dingy sides streets and decorated in what looks like a Sons of Anarchy’s Motorbike collection is Camden’s hidden gem of a venue, The Black Heart. Tonight we are here to welcome Canadian rockers The Dirty Nil to their first ever UK show! With its usual broody buzz, on top of a free show on offer, the venue is filling up nicely for a Thursday night.
The only support band of the night and London locals are WACO, who kick off the show as the stragglers make their way upstairs. Frontman Jak has an on-stage presence that politely asks for your attention, whilst secretly demanding it. He opens with a colourful message, as bright as his Hawaiian shirt, that replaces the usual “Hi we are….”, with a refreshing reminder to pay attention to the good in the world. The band then throttle the dumbfounded silence with newest track Wrangler, which has the crowd sold and their band of merry fans singing their hearts out. The sporadic vocal burst of northern twang against the lightning strikes of guitar thrashes and thunder claps of incessant drums has us well and truly hooked. WACO are modernist punk for the soul and if you haven’t already, you need to see them.
The Dirty Nil needed no introductions (quite literally) as they barge straight in with their attention stopping, debut track, No Weaknesses. As their newest release, this track is most relevant to their new approach at a more rounded sound. It has an energy that makes you feel like you’re at a 90’s house party drinking beer out of mugs. A lot of fun and a hazy mess.
Although admittedly wanting to get out of the “punk club” that they have been coined in since their 2011 LP with NOFX’s label, Fat Wreck Chords, Cinnamon is a massive hit with the Camden crowd having us question; if something isn’t broken, then why fix it? Genre however becomes pretty obsolete with these guys when you hear them live, as they tick pretty much every box. Living up to the live hype is a quality that’s essential in any band; but when you sound better that way, that’s when you have our attention and The Dirty Nil definitely do. The sheer vocal stamina of the raspy howls of Fucking Up Young, against the anarchy of the drum beat, polishes these diamonds in the rough. Their raw energy is contagious and every beat, strum and line is laced with a humble but flawless passion. They bring a sound of nostalgia of rock eras of the past from 60s to 90s, never conforming to the same pattern or sound, and yet still sound original.
The lad’s first UK show is swallowed down as easily as a pint of Camden Hells and the crowd is left satisfied, sweaty and better for it. If tonight’s performance is anything to go by, we will literally be setting our alarms to grab a copy of their new LP, Higher Power, on the 26th February – and trust us, you should too!
Written By: Charly Phillips