Review Curtis Lockhart Photos Jack Perry
It’s Sunday night. Usually, this means a sleepy night-in for Victoria; Sunday night for many is a night of recovery and rest in preparation for the work/school week. That didn’t stop people from going out, as there was an amazing turnout to see Toronto rockers The Dirty NIL , as well as the slew of talented groups to open for them.
I was not sure if I could handle a gang of loud rock bands. Upon arrival I was tired, and anxious about impending work loads. Suspending my responsibilities for the night, I dragged myself out of the apartment, grabbed a beer at Lucky, and stuck around.
Local college punks SURE opened up the night with “Fuck Forever”, and although the audience hadn’t quite filled in yet, they brought their own energy on stage; crucial for any opening band that has to deal with a half empty crowd. In spite of this, they were able to laugh at their own situation by having the sound guy play cricket noises between each song. SURE played to the small crowd as though they were playing to a packed club; kudos to them.
Gutterbird was a massive departure from the relatively light SURE that played beforehand. Gutterbird was heavy, loud and abrasive with catchy pop-punk hooks, complete with harmony/background vocals by their drummer, Ben. Their lead singer Justin Erikson, with styling reminiscent to that of Fucked Up, hounded around on stage like an ape, pounding the microphone against is chest until it eventually broke and the sound guy had to fix it. Other than that issue, their set was lively as the first mosh pit of the night broke out. One of three, in which they became progressively climactic.
Though Dead Soft were not as heavy as Gutterbird, they had the makings of a classic alternative band with over-driven guitar, grooving bass-lines and pounding drums. Their singer Nathaniel Epp, with a low slung duck-taped Fender Mustang guitar, brought the 90’s back with sounds reminiscent of early Nirvana. As I turned to the crowd, I noticed the mosh pit made up most of the floor now, i watched an inebriated woman headbanging and spilling her beer as she was smothered by out of control punks. We have Dead Soft to thank for that one.
While the last three groups fun to watch, The Dirty NIL was nothing like I had ever seen before in Victoria. No band I have seen in this town has the sheer audacity, stage presence, and character these guys have. When I heard they were touring with Billy Talent, I was amazed; seeing them play live, it made perfect sense. Their guitarist/singer Luke Bentham’s stage antics were were out of this world (or “out” of Victoria). High leg kicks, the splits, even blowing bubble gum (how does one chew gum and sing flawlessly by the way?) were things I thought were only possible in 1980’s MTV hair metal videos. If Henry Rollins could play bass, he would be David Nardi. Nardi was all-powerful, screaming ferociously and commanding the stage, and, like Henry Rollins, I wouldn’t want to get in his way. Drummer Kyle Fisher was tasteful in his playing, but was not so reserved in his presence on his kit as to not fit in. Of course, the audience loved it, demanding an encore. The response? A blitzkrieg cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town”. Classic.
This show at Lucky Bar was not only a good time, but one that will go down in Holy Smokes history, for showing that even on a Sunday night, Victoria is always ready for a good time. I’m glad I got my ass out of my apartment for this one.