It looks like a promising 2022 for The Dirty Nil.
The Hamilton native rock band performed at the sold-out Bridgeworks over Easter weekend and rocked the building. On May 15, they will walk the JUNO Awards red carpet in Toronto, with the promise of making a splash there as well.
Luke Bentham, frontman and guitarist for The Dirty Nil, told The Spectator the band were thrilled to play Hamilton’s new concert hall and “smash the building into the ground”.
“It was absolutely amazing. We have a special feeling every time we play at home. Nothing feels like home,” Bentham said. In the spirit of Easter, the band took the stage for Jesus Christ Superstar and threw chocolate at the crowd.
The band performed at Bridgeworks, a community center and event space on Caroline Street North, in what was once a carpentry shop. Long before it became a concert hall, Bridgeworks was Hamilton Bridge Works, a factory that made steel and iron parts for bridges across the country as well as Hamilton’s high-level bridge.
After being away from home for a long time, Bentham said he was worried the crowd would start to burn out during the concert, but by the end of the show people were screaming and asking for more.
“It was a great feeling. It does a lot to dampen any kind of thoughts that might have formed in the absence of playing in front of a live crowd,” Bentham said. “Will people still love us? All of those, you know, twisty thoughts were put to bed by the weekend’s response, so yeah, it was beautiful for sure.
The set list for the concert was the longest the band had ever played. It included covers to rock the crowd, like Metallica’s Hit The Lights and AC/DC’s Riff Raff, tracks from previous records, EPs and a few new songs; a treat for those who managed to get a ticket.
“Saturday was pandemonium,” said a viewer on Dirty Nil’s Instagram post who thanked Hamilton for the great weekend.
When the frontman stepped away from the mic to check the monitors, he was hit by people shouting the lyrics to the songs. “It would be the whole building that would shake and sing”
Besides the cheering crowd, Bentham also welcomed two VIP guests, his parents. The leader mentioned that one of the elements of the group was to “modify their parents a bit”.
“My mom really hated the album title F—k Art. I saw her blushing from the back, shaking her head and smiling,” Bentham said. “It would be impossible to have them on the show and not to do anything to embarrass them slightly. I think that comes with the territory of being my parents.
The Dirty Nil bid farewell to their 2021 F—k Art album with both a release and farewell party at the Easter concert and called it “the book closing of The Art era.” It was the last time we played our last full F—k Art album. So we were really excited to do this for the fine people of Hamilton,” Bentham said.
It had been a long time coming for the group. In December 2020 they did a livestream, but Bentham said “It’s not the same as playing for a crowd” and in December 2021 the concerts were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions .
After the show, Bentham said the band “hugged him and basked in the glory of his hometown.”
Though The Dirty Nil are no strangers to the JUNOS — the trio won Breakthrough Band of the Year in 2017 — a recent nomination took the group by surprise. F—k Art, the band’s third album, is up for rock album of the year this year.
“It’s always a nice nod from the institution,” said Bentham, who said he was amazed at how their music resonated with fans and the JUNO jury. “It’s good to be included.”
The Dirty Nil is gearing up to bring new music and looking forward to the future, but what’s next is still a secret.
“We’re still putting all our ducks in a row in this department,” said Bentham, who confirmed that 2022 was going to be “a really good year for the band and is shaping up to be like”
Dirty Nil’s journey began 16 years ago in Dundas, when vocalist/guitarist Luke Bentham and drummer Kyle Fisher, best friends since kindergarten, started making music in Bentham’s basement. Last year, the band members introduced a new bassist, Sam Tomlinson, also from Hamilton.
The group has over 109,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and their top three songs “Evil Side”, “Doom Boy” and “That’s What Heaven Feels Like” have racked up over a million streams on the platform.
“We’re always trying to discover more about ourselves and have fun with our music, that’s our mission statement,” Bentham said.
Now performing to a packed house again, the trio again see themselves as ‘just a few guys living out their childhood dreams’