Arkells + July Talk @ Budweiser Stage

Arkells + July Talk with Said the Whale and Mondo Cozmo
When: June 24, 2017
Where: Budweiser Stage – Toronto, ON
Seats: General Admission – Lawn

THE COMPANY

I could not have asked for a better group of people to see this concert with. I had an unanticipated extra ticket and asked my sister to come along – promising her the most fun concert she’s ever attended – and she said yes. (An answer which she doesn’t regret, because she is now obsessed with both Arkells and July Talk). And then my friends Christine, Jeremy, Marco, and Mike were all coming as well, so we met up and got super psyched together for what would be an amazing show.

It was actually the best thing ever to dance and sing along to my favourite tunes with some of my favourite people.

THE PERFORMANCE

The opening acts of this show were both pretty stellar. I’ve got a few Said the Whale songs on my iPod so it was cool to hear them live. I’ve never heard of Mondo Cozmo, but I really liked their music. But honestly, the entire time, I was counting down the seconds to the two headlining bands of this concert. And once they hit the stage, I think I literally lost my mind.

Having only heard July Talk songs on the radio before, I was really hesitant that lead male vocalist, Peter Dreimanis, would actually sound as deep and raspy as he does in the recordings. So let me just say: he sounds even better live. The entire band does. Peter and Leah’s voices are incredible together, and their chemistry on stage brought the crowd to its feet. They also (very smartly) advertised their next set of shows to the 16,000 people packing the Bud Stage that night. Needless to say those shows sold out almost immediately. (And needless to say, my sister and I will be going).

Arkells. My band. I’ve seen them before and I knew I’d love seeing them again. They’ve quickly become my #1 favourite band. So when the lights went out for them to begin, the cheers rumbled and I went into full fangirl-concert mode. Every song they played was a hit. Front man, Max Kerman, did not let the energy die down even for a second. I don’t think anyone in the crowd stopped dancing at any point during their set.

But easily the best part of the entire night was the encore. The venue gave everyone at the show a beer cup that would light up red at certain points in the encore. Arkells came out to sing “My Heart’s Always Yours” and the cups lit up the venue – pulsing and dancing along to the tune of the song. Then all four acts came out once more and did a rendition of Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” that had everyone going wild (including the red lights).

It was quite honestly the best concert I think I’ve ever been to in my life.

COMPLETE SETLIST:

July Talk:

  1. Picturing Love ♥
  2. Summer Dress
  3. Gentleman
  4. Johnny + Mary ♥
  5. Lola + Joseph ♥
  6. Strange Habit
  7. Guns + Ammunition ♥
  8. Paper Girl ♥
  9. Jesus Said So
  10. My Neck
  11. Ace of Spades (Motorhead cover) ♥
  12. I’ve Rationed Well
  13. Touch
  14. Beck + Call ♥
  15. Push + Pull ♥
  16. The Garden

Arkells:

  1. Private School ♥
  2. Michigan Left ♥
  3. Never Thought That This Would Happen ♥♥
  4. Come to Light ♥
  5. 11:11 ♥♥
  6. Oh, the Boss is Coming! ♥
  7. Pullin’ Punches ♥♥
  8. Drake’s Dad ♥
  9. Savannah
  10. And Then Some ♥♥
  11. Book Club ♥
  12. Leather Jacket ♥♥
  13. Dirty Blonde ♥♥
  14. Whistleblower ♥
  15. A Little Rain (A Song for Pete) ♥♥♥
  16. Cynical Bastards ♥♥
  17. Knocking at the Door ♥♥

Encore:
18. My Heart’s Always Yours ♥♥
19. Dancing in the Dark (Springsteen cover with July Talk, Mondo Cozmo, and Said the Whale) ♥♥♥

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How the Arkells Changed My Life

I can count the bands I love on one hand. They’re not just bands I like, but bands that have had a serious impact on my life. Green Day has always been my group – the one whose music has meant the most to me and inspired me since I was ten years old. It’s been so long, I guess I forgot what it felt like to “love” a group like that. Then I got a chance to see Arkells at their homecoming concert in Hamilton.

“Take me to the bus stop Matty, drive me back to Hamilton…”
-Book Club

It was the first concert I’ve ever been to where I only knew a couple of songs, but still had a blast singing along. I fell in love that night – but not with a person. Arkells rekindled my love and appreciation for music. Their songs are so upbeat and happy, or emotionally charged. I can’t stand still. “Dirty Blonde” comes on, and I just need to dance.

“Give me your number, pick any colour, I can tell your fortune tonight.”
-Dirty Blonde

I guess that’s when I realized I wasn’t happy. In that moment, I fell in love with a sound harder than I’d fallen in love with the person I was dating. When I listen to their music, it makes me feel stronger – happier, sadder, giddier – than I felt when I was with the guy who was supposed to be “the one”.

In that moment, I decided I was tired of feeling numb. I realized I don’t need a person to make me feel – I can feel things on my own – with a book, with a game, with a band, with a song. And whether it was with another person, or by myself, I realized this is how I wanted to feel for the rest of my life.

The Arkells were the light in my life when I was numb and repressed by my selfish ex.

“I just want to love you, but it’s so hard.”
-Private School

They were there when he left me.

“When the rain starts comin’ down, a little rain ain’t bringin’ me down.”
-A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)

And they were there when I fell for someone who respected me, and who empowered me to be the person I wanted to be, for me. Not for him or for anyone else.

“It used to be just weekends, now I want you everyday.”
-My Heart’s Always Yours

The Arkells were my lifeline in a time when I needed something to shake me from my comfort zone, and tell me that there was something better out there for me. I just had to get out of my funk and find it.

And I can already feel the difference between going through the motions, and being just plain happy. I’m as happy as I was that night in Hamilton, and I feel happy every time I put High Noon on my record player.

I cannot wait to see the Arkells when they come to Toronto this month, because this time around it’ll mean so much more.

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Arkells Hamilton Homecoming w/ Frank Turner

I feel so lucky to have been able to be a part of the Arkells homecoming show in Hamilton, but this concert was just as much about Frank Turner for me as it was the Arkells. So I’m going to talk about both acts equally, and hopefully I don’t ramble.

Arkells with Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
When: February 10, 2017
Where: FirstOntario Centre – Hamilton, ON
Seats: General Admission – Floor

THE COMPANY

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My boyfriend’s friend actually said he was looking for someone to go with him to this concert, and I jumped at the opportunity. I was checking out the tickets online for a while but knew no one would want to go with me, so I’d kind of accepted that. But getting to see Frank Turner in person? Heck yes! We’re both concert lovers, so it was awesome to share the experience with someone who fully appreciated it – and we ended up having a blast!

 

THE PERFORMANCE

img_4427This show was nothing short of ‘wow’.

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls were incredible, as I’d expected. Turner is a fantastic performer who was able to draw in the whole crowd – even people who probably had never heard of him and were only there for the Arkells. He got everyone singing along to almost every song, and I have had “Photosynthesis” stuck in my head for days (“I won’t sit down, and I won’t shut up – and most of all I will not grow up!”). Of course, when he played “Four Simple Words”, I lost my flippin’ mind, and everyone was bopping along like crazy. Frank Turner was everything I hoped he would be, and more.

img_4451By the time the Arkells came on stage I was so hyped. I’m not super familiar with their music, but I know more songs than I thought I did! They were incredible, and you could tell the band was pumped to be back home, because they put every ounce of energy they had into every song. I was just really happy that they played all of my favourite songs. I got to bop to “11:11” and sway along to “My Heart’s Always Yours”, and dance like no one was watching during “Dirty Blonde”. Then they pulled everyone closer to the stage as they finished up the set with “Leather Jacket”. It’s been three days since the show, and I’m still on a concert high because it was so much freakin’ fun.

THE AUDIENCE

The crowd was definitely a huge part as to why this concert was incredible. It was the Arkells homecoming show. Everyone was so excited! The entire venue was PACKED full of people. I look at the photos and just can’t believe there were that many people behind where we stood.

Photo from @arkellsmusic Twitter

Photo from @arkellsmusic Twitter: HAMILTON. Couldn’t have dreamt this up better. Thank you for giving us the best damn view in the world.

Also, I’ve never had floor seats to a show like that before – in such a large venue. I’ve been to general admission venues before, but nothing like this. Standing on the floor vs. standing in the seats are definitely two different concert experiences, and I totally prefer the former. You just get pulled into the music, and you’re dancing with hundreds of other people, sharing this show together. It’s impossible not to get completely immersed in the moment – which I was.

And I needed to be immersed. I needed a night to forget the bad and celebrate the good and have a shit ton of fun with a cool human. It was just the right music at the right time in my life. I would see them again in a heartbeat.

COMPLETE SETLIST:

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls:

  1. I Still Believe ♥
  2. The Next Storm
  3. Photosynthesis ♥
  4. The Way I Tend to Be ♥
  5. Dan’s Song
  6. The Sand in the Gears
  7. Recovery ♥
  8. Get Better
  9. Four Simple Words ♥

Arkells:

  1. A Little Rain (A Song for Pete) ♥
  2. Michigan Left
  3. Come to Light ♥
  4. Ballad of Hugo Chavez
  5. Hung Up
  6. Passenger Seat
  7. Never Thought That This Would Happen ♥
  8. 11:11 ♥
  9. And Then Some ♥
  10. Oh, the Boss is Coming!
  11. Pullin’ Punches ♥
  12. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (Jackie Wilson cover, with Frank Turner)
  13. I Want You Back (Jackson 5 cover, with Frank Turner) ♥
  14. My Girl (The Temptations cover, with Frank Turner)
  15. Drake’s Dad
  16. Agent Zero ♥
  17. Kiss Cam ♥
  18. Savannah
  19. My Heart’s Always Yours ♥
  20. Book Club ♥
  21. On Paper
  22. Dirty Blonde ♥
  23. Private School (with Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls) ♥

Encore
24. Whistleblower
25. Cynical Bastards ♥
26. Leather Jacket ♥

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