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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Bon Jovi: This House is Not for Sale Tour

Bon Jovi w/ Cannons
When: April 11, 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON
Seats: Lower level, Row 25 – Rear

THE COMPANY

This was the first concert where Jacob accompanied me, and it was really exciting – mostly because I’m a pretty quiet person, but when it comes to concerts, I’m loud and I sing and dance the whole time. And it’s kind of scary to go to a show with someone who may or may not clap along or cheer at the end of a song. But we had a great time dancing together!

It was also particularly awesome because we got these tickets off of Groupon, so they were $20 each. So it was super last minute, but such a great night.

THE PERFORMANCE

I was kind of worried, because our discount tickets put us sort of behind the stage, but honestly the view was incredible. And when Bon Jovi hit the stage, everyone was on their feet, dancing and cheering the whole night. I was excited to hear a handful of my favourite songs (“Shot Through the Heart” – heyyyooo) but I didn’t realize how many other songs I recognized!

I think what I loved the most was that JBJ was really open to creating an experience for all types of fans. At one point, he began explaining the meaning behind the band’s newer songs and what they meant to them before beginning each one. Then he announced, “This is the last new one – the rest are hits from here on out.” When a band has so many hits, it must be hard to find a happy medium when touring a new album. But I think they did a great job at introducing This House is Not For Sale to an audience that was likely hoping for hits or their older tunes.

THE AUDIENCE

The audience at this show was incredible. Sitting at a “behind the stage” angle actually gave me a new appreciation for shows, because it allowed me to see the audience from the perspective of the band on stage. I’d look out and see the lights illuminating the faces in the crowd, and I could see how much fun they were having singing the lyrics along with the band. It was so cool. And of course, my favourite part of any show – when the audience pulls out their lights and makes the ACC look like the night sky – was just amplified because of all the excitement and my surprisingly amazing seats.

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COMPLETE SETLIST:

  1. This House is Not for Sale ♥
  2. Knockout
  3. You Give Love a Bad Name ♥
  4. Lost Highway
  5. Who Lot of Leavin’ ♥
  6. Roller Coaster ♥
  7. We Weren’t Born to Follow
  8. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
  9. We Got It Goin’ On ♥
  10. Who Says You Can’t Go Home ♥
  11. It’s My Life ♥
  12. We Don’t Run
  13. God Bless This Mess ♥
  14. Scars on This Guitar ♥
  15. New Year’s Day
  16. Lay Your Hands on Me ♥
  17. Born to Be My Baby
  18. Have a Nice Day ♥
  19. Bad Medicine ♥
  20. Keep the Faith

Encore:
21. Always ♥
22. Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen from Mars
23. Wanted Dead or Alive ♥
24. Livin’ on a Prayer ♥

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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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