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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Train: Play That Song Tour

Train with O.A.R and Natasha Bedingfield
When: June 21, 2017
Where: Budweiser Stage – Toronto, ON
Seats: General Admission – Lawn

THE COMPANY

When these tickets dropped on Groupon for $15, I knew I had to snatch them up! And I asked one of my besties, Nikki, to come along – to which she obviously said yes, because why would someone not say yes to $15 concert tickets? Who knows.

And then this opportunity got even more awesome when we got to the venue and apparently the show didn’t sell out – which, okay, I guess isn’t great for them – but it was great for us, because they were upgrading people who had lawn seats! So we ended up in the 300-section instead of two sections back, sitting on the grass. So that was nifty.

THE PERFORMANCE

It wasn’t until a few days before the concert that I realized how many Train songs I knew. Obviously, Drops of Jupiter. But I couldn’t believe how many hits they had. And I recognized even more of them at the show. Train would launch into the next song, and I’d start singing along; something in the back of my mind remembered lyrics to Meet Virginia from years ago. But the band was incredible and so high energy the whole time.

I particularly liked the fact that Train brought out the two opening acts (Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R) at separate points during their set to do a song collaboratively. A lot of the time, people aren’t there to see the opening acts, so it was cool to see how supportive and excited the audience was to see them back again to perform with the headliner.

Some favourites are marked in the setlist below, but I really enjoyed getting to hear Drive By, Hey Soul Sister, and their cover of Queen/Bowie’s “Under Pressure” was absolutely fantastic.

THE AUDIENCE

The audience may not have been as high-energy as the band on stage, but they were definitely excited to be at this show. I always find it interesting to see the crowds at shows and see who is a fan of the band. I’m into some pretty diverse stuff and I don’t typically enter any “fan communities”, so I’m honestly not too aware of what kinds of people to expect at certain concerts. And this one was very up in the air for me. But I thought it was cool to see the wide range of people at this one – people of literally all ages could be seen around the venue, and everyone was up dancing.

$15 tickets on Groupon for a night like that? Yeah, I’d definitely do it again.

COMPLETE SETLIST:

  1. Drink Up
  2. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. If It’s Love
  4. Angel in Blue Jeans
  5. Get to Me
  6. Save Me, San Francisco ♥
  7. Calling All Angels ♥
  8. Bruises (with Natasha Bedingfield) ♥
  9. Meet Virginia ♥
  10. Drive By ♥
  11. Marry Me
  12. You Better Believe
  13. You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon cover – with O.A.R)
  14. Working Girl
  15. Mermaid/Shape of You/Cheap Thrills/Treat You Better/Lost and Found ♥
  16. Hey, Soul Sister ♥
  17. Play That Song ♥

Encore:
18. Under Pressure (Queen/Bowie cover) ♥
19. Drops of Jupiter ♥

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