LIVE: The Dirty Nil / WACO / Burnt Tapes @ Old Blue Last, London

By Andy Leddington

Opening up the fun for the evening are London-by-way-of-Athens “regret-punk”-ers The Burnt Tapes. Although there can’t have been more than two dozen people watching their set when they started, they nonetheless kicked things off with a welcome blast of energetic, melodic punk. The Burnt Tapes smashed through their set with very little between-song crowd interaction, providing a more than solid opening act for 8PM on a Tuesday at The Old Blue Last.

70s rock-influenced punk weirdos WACO played exactly like how you would expect a punk band in the upstairs venue of a pub to play. Despite the occasional odd dance move and baffling crowd banter, WACO put on a genuinely uplifting live show. Their music itself might not be anything particularly revolutionary, but a lot of bands could take notice of the way they played and the funny and entertaining ways the crowd were involved with the show.

Those who have already had the extreme pleasure of witnessing The Dirty Nil playing live can testify that if they are one thing, it is “cool”. Before they even played a single note the crowd were entirely on board with everything that singer Luke Bentham did, and when he produced things like his unique Canadian drawl to talk to the crowd, or blowing a bubble with his gum whilst playing a guitar solo, all eyes of the crowd were on him.

Most of The Dirty Nil’s set was taken from this year’s seminal record ‘Higher Power’, with songs like opening number ‘No Weaknesses’ and ‘Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü’ (played slightly slower to give it a real heavy grunge feeling) Bentham needn’t have bothered singing – everyone in that room knew all of the words and were singing along with pride and joy. They also threw in an unexpected and brilliant cover of The Misfit’s ‘Last Caress’. Just because they could.

It’s entirely possible that The Dirty Nil may pull a Rise Against – drop the punk side a bit, write fantastic hard rock songs and become a massive band and sell out arenas. Or they may spend the rest of their days playing sweaty punk shows above pubs to a few hundred rabid fans. But either way they are going to be outstanding at it.