Live Review: Microwave, The Dirty Nil and Sick Joy at Scala (24/04/24)

On a cold windy Wednesday about 1000 people descend down on King’s Cross’ Scala venue. All for one specific reason; Microwave, on their biggest UK run to date bringing along The Dirty Nil and Sick Joy.

Microwave have been a band I’ve known about since I was 15 – here I am 6 years later on my way to see them and I’m excited. Nervous but excited – I don’t know much of the bands playing, I haven’t been to this venue before. I’ve got absolutely no idea what to expect but I’m stoked either way.

Two Piece, Sick Joy, are up first and waste absolutely no time, there’s barely any chatter and they play a very quick and well rehearsed set. Big grungy riffs with vocals almost moaned out half slurred. Their sound engineer absolutely kills it as it is one of the best sounding sets I’ve ever heard. Purely just from the stance of how absolutely clear it all was. You could hear the guitar, all of the drums and the vocals so unbelievably clearly and it wasn’t muddy at all and it really makes Sick Joy and absolute joy to watch. I’d be very happy to see these guys again in a hopefully more receptive room.

Next up are The Dirty Nil, all the way from Ontario, Canada. The room is definitely more full by this point and they come out to an explosion of rock licks and blasting drums. They turn up the energy yet the crowd seems to stand bored. I’m not 100% sure what it is but not even the band seem fully there, their bassist is moving around and they’re definitely fun to watch, to an extent, but other than that I am genuinely not sure what it going for this band. They’re fine and have some catchy choruses but between some of the dodgy lyrics I’m just not sure this is for me. I’d give them a shot if you have the chance to catch them at a festival playing a ‘best of’ set.

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Microwave come out to an eruption of cheers from the crowd and they’re clearly the reason, most, people are here. Immediately that crowd splits into two, and Microwave are so clearly comfortable on that stage. I am so excited to be here watching this band right now. Opening up the set with absolutely tearjerker, Ferrari, they immediately explode into the much heavier, Mirrors. Sending shockwaves through the venue and the crowd, the crowd wastes no time in opening that pit up and sending bodies flying over the barricade. Putting the security to work for sure. Microwave are absolutely fantastic with their set pacing, and they are so unbelievably fun to watch. Every single song has a beautiful melody that gets stuck in your ears between all the heavy angst and pretty chords.

Between the absolute beautiful horror of ‘Whimper’ and songs like ‘Trash Stains’ that I remember from being a teenager their set is handcrafted and picked out so well. Even for somebody that doesn’t know their discography too well, they’re a wonder to just watch, even idly I could just watch this band.

The whole thing is lovely, they’re lovely to watch and I genuinely don’t think I have seen a band as good as Microwave in a long time, I don’t even know this band that well, and the entire time I am stood there. Mouth agape just thinking ‘WHAAAATTTT.’ That’s it. They are that strong. 

They just ended this tour but good grief I cannot recommend them enough. If you get the chance to see them go and do it. Please.


  • Daniel Fisher

    Writer/YouTuber - I am a graphic designer, vocalist and writer of any hardcore release I can get my mits on for GBHBL. Find me two-stepping at any show under 100 capacity.

Microwave, The Dirty Nil and Sick Joy
  • Microwave - 9.5/10
  • The Dirty Nil - 5/10
  • Sick Joy - 7.5/10
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