Hamilton natives the Arkells swapped their homeland of Canada for a trip to the UK, London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to be more exact. The band have just released their latest album Morning Report and not only are the tracks on the album absolute tunes, they are also so much fun to hear live!
Canada’s best kept rock secret formed in 2006 when they met at University in Hamilton, Ontario. And while their musical career has already spanned ten whole years and they are basically national icons in their homeland, The Arkells are still very much an insider secret amongst European indie fans. Unexplainably so because with the band’s extremely fun energy their live shows are something not to be missed in your gig diary.
It’s a Tuesday night in London, but the band have no trouble turning it into a Friday night. We are just about one song into the set and frontman Max Kerman is head first into the crowd at the 300-cap venue. That’s how you get a party started! And this is only the start of this fun-filled show. Max is like the rock version of an Energizer bunny on stage – once you get him going there is just no stopping, no matter how tough the crowd. And tonight, the London crowd is slightly more on the tough side, but once they got warmed up it was all dancing and singing all the way. Who could resist shouting along to Drake’s Dad or Savannah?
The set is a fantastic mix of old songs and new tracks, On Paper finds just as much love from the audience as the newest track My Heart’s Always Yours which at first sounds like a classic love song, but if you listen closely there’s an endearing, underlying hint of heartbreak. It all starts out with a guy falling in love hearing his girl sing in the shower and then the chorus tugs at your heart strings with desperate calls of “I’ll be here, I’ll be waiting for you.” and we all sing along.
More fun is coming our way as the band call support singer-songwriter, London native and self-proclaimed holder of a Ph.D. in rock ‘n’ roll Ryan O’Reilley on stage. But this is not going to be just another “Let’s sing one of our songs together” on stage trick you usually get. Max decides to test Ryan’s rock ‘n’ roll knowledge with a medley of three Springsteen classics including Dancing In The Dark, 10th Avenue Freeze-Out and Hungry Heart. Just last month during their US run, the Arkells played a few shows with UK folk rock singer Frank Turner and tested his impersonation skills, too.
And although the crowd was slow to warm up to the party on this cold Tuesday evening, in the end it was a warm Friday night feeling we all went home with. You can just never go wrong with an Arkells show – pure fun, excellent energy and a sound like it’s straight from the record. My heart’s always yours, boys.