On Saturday, February 16, 2019, the Arkells took over the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario with a stop on their Rally Cry tour. To say they wowed the crowd would be an understatement. The sold-out crowd of over 19,000 Arkellians danced the night away with the band and were in awe of the music that they commonly love. The Arkells of Hamilton, Ontario became an alternative rock group in 2006 and debuted their first album, Jackson Square, in 2008. Ten years later and the band is on tour for their fifth album, Rally Cry.
Lord Huron started the show in Toronto, setting the mood for the whole night. Their music has caught the eye (and the ears!) of fans around the world including former U.S. President Barack Obama. One of their songs, “The Night We Met” can also be found on the soundtrack for season 2 of Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why. This was the first time I had seen Lord Huron live but their hour-long set definitely left me a fan.
Then it was time for the stars of the show. The Arkells hit the stage with high energy and broke out with “Relentless.” They followed up with “Leather Jacket” and “Michigan Left”, two of their biggest singles. They had it all, from fire to confetti. They performed all their hits and even reached back into the past to play “No Champagne Socialist” from their very first album. They played an incredible acoustic version of “Kiss Cam,” a personal favourite of mine.
The guys had fantastic fan engagement throughout the entire show. The lead man, Max Kerman, is known for his leather jacket and rainbow tassels during the entirety of Rally Cry, and he pulled fans with matching attire up to the stage to sing along with him. As Kerman was making his way through the crowd, handing out doctors’ notes to get people out of work for the next morning, he found a young fan who was celebrating her fourteenth birthday at the show. Kerman had the whole arena sing happy birthday as he gave her a big hug.
The band established a request line for the tour where fans can call in and ask for a song to be played at their show. A pay phone is brought onto the stage and the guys listen to a voice mail message to find out what song they are playing. With Scotiabank Arena being the home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, who better to request a song than General Manager of the team, Kyle Dubas. “Blueprint” was the choice in honour of Toronto’s boys in blue and it prompted a “Go-Leafs-Go” chant around the arena.
After performing fan favorites like “Private School” and “Hand Me Downs,” the Arkells left the stage after two hours. The crowd continued to sing their final song even with the stage black. The guys returned back with Lord Huron and sang ABBA classic “Dancing Queen.” The perfect end to the Saturday night in Toronto was “My Heart Is Always Yours,” to which the crowd gave every ounce of energy they had left.
If you have the opportunity, check out an Arkells live show! This concert ranks very high for me and I would recommend the show to anyone. These guys hit it right on the head with this show and deserve so much credit for their individuality and musical prowess. Their love for their music and their fans is above all, and they are definitely cementing themselves as a top Canadian group. Their fun, upbeat vibe can get anyone up out of their seats and dancing.
Feature Image: Instagram @ArkellsMusic