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…”
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.”
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.”
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.