Words by Nadia Dar

The Arkells have always been one of my favorite bands to see live, so it was no surprise when they finished off their three night concert binge on Saturday with a bang.

The boys jumped on stage and hit the crowd right away with “Cynical Bastards,” a fresh new track off their August-released album, High Noon. The song addresses the evolution of the Canadian band’s hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. To say it got everyone ready and roaring would be an understatement.

Frontman Max Kerman’s ability to relate to the room of screaming fans was one thing I picked up on right away. It seemed that just about every song had a backstory, which made the audience feel more and more connected with the performance. It was incredible. By night’s end, it felt like just by sharing a few little stories, a warm feeling of togetherness filled the room of strangers.

The set itself was a fun-filled mixture of Motown energy mixed with the intensity of good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. Towards the beginning of the show, the band stuck to mostly recent tracks like “Dirty Blonde,” “What Are You Holding On To?” and “Come To Light.” As the night went on, some of their old favorites made appearances.

About halfway through the set, the heart pounding intro to “Oh, The Boss Is Coming!” came into play and immediately the room broke out in chorus. Nostalgia filled the air as the crowd and band sang along to the track that essentially started it all, from the 2008 album Jackson Square. It quite possibly could’ve been the highlight of the night. However, after the band returned for their encore, they shifted gears in a way that no one could overlook.

Max Kerman returned to the stage holding an acoustic guitar. Pianist Anthony Carone and guitarist Mike DeAngelis were by his side. The three began singing “Ticats Are Hummin’,” a song they originally wrote as an anthem for the Hamilton TiCats — but this time it was to show their support, as the team would be fighting for the Grey Cup the very next day. One thing the Arkells are known for is the love they show for their hometown of Hamilton. During this performance, this couldn’t have been more apparent.

The acoustic session continued with a few more crowd-pleasers, including one of my personal favorites, “Book Club.” But the night wasn’t over until the theatre heard “Leather Jacket.” Instantly, the roomed exploded with energy which carried on until the band closed with an all-time favorite, “John Lennon.”

I’ve seen the Arkells in concert four times, and every time they seem to get better and better. Not only do they play some catchy tunes, but they constantly ensure the crowd is having as much fun as they are. Whether it’s pumping everyone up for a football game or having the whole room sing “This Little Light of Mine,” take my word when I say an Arkells show is always worth it.


TheWaster.com | Toronto