Listen to The Dirty Nil

“Who is opening?” – perhaps the most pejorative, cringe-worthy words in live music. Most people attend a live show to see one band -the headliner. During a typical opening band’s set, one is likely to observe a largely uninterested crowd meandering, looking at merch they won’t buy, hovering near the bar, or rippin’ cigs in the designated outdoor smoking area. (footnote: the “merch guy” is worthy of a blog) The crowd neither cares about nor pays attention to the opening acts.

Not me. I love watching the opening bands. Even at my first “concert,” I was inconsolable when we missed Local H open for Stone Temple Pilots. You just never know when you will discover what might become one of your new favorite bands. This is exactly how I started listening to The Dirty Nil.

In 2017, back when live music was still a thing, I went to see Against Me!, one of my favorite bands ever, in Dallas at the Granada Theater. We arrived early enough to hear the openers, which included The Dirty Nil. I had never heard of them, but like always, was excited to hear the opening bands. I was blown away by their energy, loudness, and what appeared to be good songs. To clarify, sometimes at local venues – including this instance – you can’t audibly single out lyrics or melodies for an entire song because everything is so loud. When you are unfamiliar with a band, listening to them live in a small, loud venue does not offer their full sound. Always, always listen to the band’s recorded and published music after the show. Anyways, I subsequently listened to their entire catalogue, with the clarity of studio recordings, and The Dirty Nil did/does not disappoint.

That was the long version of me simply saying you need to listen to The Dirty Nil. I hate comparing bands to other bands, but for the 2 of you reading this (thanks mom and dad), The Nil sounds like a combination of Nirvana, Weezer, and a slight twist of Refused with the occasional Slayer-inspired guitar riff. I know you are thinking “holy shit, John, that sounds amazing!”  Yes it is, Roger, yes it is. Who is Roger?  I have no idea. Please proceed…

Rather than trying to describe the band, and not do them justice (for all), here is my starter kit for listening to The Dirty Nil. 

If you prefer to lead in with individual songs, start with these:

Fuckin’ Up Young

Wrestle Yu to Husker Du

That’s What Heaven Feels Like


Pain of Infinity

Auf Wiedersehen

Hate is a Stone

If you enjoy listening to entire albums like I do, start with these two:

Master Volume – one of my favorite albums of the last 5 years

Minimum R&B – make sure to listen to the second half of this album, typically uncharted waters for the casual music listener focused on “hits.”  There are some real gems in the second half of this album.

Now, go listen to the rest of their music! 

P.S. They have a song about listening to Slayer in a Dodge Caravan, and they got Mark McGrath to review it.

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