Words by Raven Benwait

Toronto Punk rockers crowded outside the one and only Lees Palace for the Dine Alone Tour featuring The Flatliners, The Dirty Nil and more. Toronto was the last stop of their tour, as they ended with two nights on June 16 and 17.

Once I arrived to the venue, The Dirty Nil had hit the stage. From Hamilton, the three-piece band arrived with flare and an enthusiastic attitude. I remember first seeing them four years ago at the Opera House, opening for The Flatliners and I’ve got to say – wow, their fan-base has grown immensely. The first time I saw them live, they had a two man mosh-pit and now, several people were screaming their lyrics and jumping around the floor. It was amazing to see how much they’ve grown. In addition to this, The Dirty Nil also won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2017, which is a huge accomplishment!

From Dine Alone Records, the three-piece played music from their latest albums Higher Power, released in 2016 and Minimum R&B, released this year, on April 28. Listening to The Dirty Nil  live, their music was very catchy. It was easy to join in and sing along with them, especially with their enthusiastic attitudes. Some catchy songs I enjoyed included “Friends in the Sky” and “No Weaknesses” and my favourite, “Fuckin’ Up Young,” which is a song many of us can relate to.

Overall, I’m a proud fan of The Dirty Nil, as I watched their growth. Their music and stage presence only gets better.

Next, headliners The Flatliners arrived onstage and the venue was almost full at this point, as it was a sold out show. As always, The Flatliners killed it with Chris Cresswell’s unique vocals and the bands groovy, precise musical rhythms.  They’ve been going hard since 2002 and are still keeping the crowd alive till this day.

The Flatliners recently released a new album called Inviting Light which has a great mix of Punk, a bit of their Ska roots and a ton of groovy, catchy rhythms. They played a great mix of music from their albums Dead Language to Calvacade, The Great Awake and the classic, Destroy to Create. Some fan favorites included “Birds of England,” “Count Your Bruises” and “Monumental.”

There were many stage divers and crowd surfers during the show, but there was one incident in particular that took place. The Flatliners actually had two more songs left before the end of their set. As they began singing their second last song, a fan dove very quickly from the stage and crashed to the ground; he clearly was injured. Ofcourse the set could not continue on after the incident took place and I’m glad the fans were all supportive of this, along with the band who respectively checked on the injured fan. The band released a statement on Facebook saying that the gentleman who dove from the stage was sent to the hospital and was doing okay.

All in all The Flatliners have been killing it since the early 2000’s; I believe that they are underrated, although they are beginning to get more recognition through the years. Their lyrics is so relatable, deep and emotional while their music is rhythmically catchy and so creative. They are a perfect example of a band that is keeping Punk Rock alive in today’s musical generation and the Toronto crowd agreed as everyone connected and sang with the band.

All in all, it was a great night with great fans, and ofcourse, some of the best Punk and Alternative Rock acts in the GTA.

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