A small venue that has played host to many a famous band on the quest for superstardom but it really does far more than provide that bridge to the glossy front pages of Kerrang or NME. It puts on the gigs to live for small, sweaty and intimate, far more enjoyable than the arena rock ordeal that dominates the rock scene. Only a 20-minute walk or 5-pound taxi from Southampton Central station travelling to and from Bournemouth proves easy enough, especially with the last train back being at 23:50 giving you plenty of time after the regular 11 pm curfew. Tonight the small group of people clinging on to the spirit of rock and roll are here to be entertained by Canadian trio The Dirty Nil. Over for a whistle-stop tour in support of their new record ‘master volume’, this is a night I am very much looking forward.
Master Volume is the bands 3rd outing following first major release “Higher Power” (2016) and compilation album “Minimum R&B” (2017) for lead singer Luke Bentham, bass play Ross Bentham and drummer Kyle Fisher and boy does it pack a punch. Punk rock sensibilities and attitude melded with classic rock swagger Master Volume provides everything the new age rock fan should want. The chorus’s rise and lift you up with the riffs beat you around in all the right ways. A far more mature release than the previous 2 records master volume is ready to be discovered by the mainstream if they choose to accept it. With the notion that rock is dead cropping up every month on some internet article The Dirty Nil really show that even if it is 6 feet under there’s a small chance it will claw its way back out.
The support on the night comes in 3 very different forms firstly The Gillies hard-hitting, rough around the edges with early nirvana spilling out of every scream, cymbal crash and bass line. The early crowd may be small but they clearly enjoy what’s on offer. Following them were Southampton locals Weatherstate a pop-punk 4 piece that even with good execution sounds very dated. The final offering comes in the form of synth rock group The Winter Passing. The group conduct themselves very well engaging with the crowd and winning more people over with every song. Although lacking confidence at times with their interactions they really are thankful to be on the bill tonight. I’d recommend for fans of Wolf Alice and Chvrches.
Now for the main event, there is a clear sign in the confidence of their latest release with its prominent presence on the set list with all but one song from the record being played (super 8). Stand out tracks include “I don’t want that phone call” exploring the darker side of mental health that is so prominent in today’s society and the recently released single “pain of infinity” a real classic rock belter to lose your voice too. Frontman Luke Bentham oozes confidence casting a similar to Queens of the Stone Age frontman man Josh Homme coupled with the crowd interactions from bassist Ross Miller and solid support from Kyle Fisher on the drums the songs really translate well to the live environment. For fans of The Menzingers, Royal Blood and Canadians!