The Dirty Nil / Single Mothers

London Music Hall, London, ON, November 20

Photo: Karen K. Tran

BY Karen K. TranPublished Nov 21, 2019

"This song is from the best album, Master Volume, and it goes out to Luke, Kyle and me 'cause we're so sick!," bassist Ross Miller announced to the audience before launching into "Smoking is Magic." The "maiden voyage" of the "Idiot Victory Tour" at the London Music Hall was the Dirty Nil's first show in Canada since their European tour wrapped up earlier this month.
Energetic as usual, the trio filled the smoky stage with high kicks and coordinated jumps. Guitarist and vocalist Luke Bentham chewed bubble gum between songs, occasionally blowing a bubble while still effortlessly playing guitar. Known for usually wearing his iconic studded star jacket during their shows, this time Bentham traded it in for a new outfit, while keeping the black with white stars theme with a matching jacket, tie, and pants in the familiar loud star-spangled pattern.
During their opening performance, Single Mothers' lead vocalist Drew Thomson emphasized the rhythm of their music with purposeful gestures of his hands, likened to a fervent orchestra conductor keeping time without a baton. Thomson mentioned that he had grown up in London, ON, and gave a special shoutout to the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College students, jokingly motioning for the two groups of students to separate into two sides and form a wall of death. He also noted that two-thirds of the Dirty Nil (Bentham and Miller) had at some point been members of Single Mothers.
During their 21-song set, The Dirty Nil played nearly every song from their latest, Master Volume, including the deluxe version songs "Astro Ever After," which Bentham explained was written for his family dog who passed away at age 13, as well as their newest single, "Idiot Victory." The band introduced an unreleased song titled "Doom Boy" during their set, and also included a rare slow song, "Caroline."
The crowd reacted enthusiastically to recent tracks such as "Pain of Infinity," "I Don't Want That Phone Call," and "Auf Wiedersehen," with a consistent mosh pit and a steady flow of crowd surfers. The energy did not wane throughout the night; Miller returned to the stage after a quick break to say that the Dirty Nil would only perform an encore if the crowd promised to jump along with him for the rest of the show.
The band's camaraderie was truly apparent throughout the night. The show ended with a heartfelt thank you from Bentham to each of his bandmates, Ross Miller and Kyle Fisher, who he described as the "best bassist ever" and the "best drummer ever," and dedicated their closing song, a cover of Queen's "We Are the Champions," to each other.

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