Ain’t no party like an Arkells party cause an Arkells party don’t stop! Seriously, mother of fuck these guys from Hamilton go hard, full throttle for two hours! Frontman Max Kerman is just one of those pure entertainers and every time I’ve seen the Arkells it’s the same MO, we’re all here to have the time of our lives.
The openers, Lord Huron from Los Angeles, CA were as frontman Ben Schneider stated, “here to warm you guys up.” Oh, but they did so much more than that, legitimately almost setting the MTelus crowd on fire! Opening acts rarely go this hard, but then I suppose if you’re opening for the Arkells you kinda have to. Lord Huron go between moments of melodic indie folk, much like The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons to moments of hard-hitting, straight forward power rock. Although it was the last night of the tour, they showed no signs of exhaustion or any intent to phone it in, this was a blisteringly entertaining hour-long set. “Ends of the Earth” was a huge crowd pleaser, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, pretty sure it’s from a TV commercial, I’m not gonna research which one and they’re not paying me any royalties anyhow so ya! Just check out the song. A couple of other songs that tickled my fancy were the blissful “The Night We Met” and the ferociously hard “Ancient Names (Part II),” which closed out the set. I’m beyond stoked for Lord Huron to come back to Montreal, hopefully headlining their own show, or Osheaga? Can we get that lineup announcement, please?
Back to Arkells frontman Max Kerman, the guy knows how to work a room! He literally walked around the MTelus offering crowd members “Arkells doctors notes” so that they wouldn’t have to work the next day! (Not sure if Arkells followed through on that, but at least the thought was there). Every night feels like a Saturday night when you’re at an Arkells show. Opening with “Relentless” from their latest album Rally Cry was a predictable but still perfect way to start off the set, before moving into my personal fav and forever crowd-pleasing “Leather Jacket,” which gets that beautiful enhancement live when the whole crowd sings along to the chorus! (Did you check the Bucketlist Instagram story!? I posted it. You should always be watching the Bucketlist Instagram stories!) Yes indeed, it seems like an Arkells crowd knows just about every lyric to every song in the catalogue the way they sing along at shows and it’s a beautiful feeling.
Arkells did a really nice segment mid-set where they rolled out an old Montreal payphone, remember those? Kerman took a call, which was a playback from a request line where you could call in and request a song live. Really cool fucking concept! If I remember correctly the song chosen was “Private School,” the guy who requested it hopped up on stage to share vocals and proceeded to slay the fuck out of it! Props homie. Arkells kept those Saturday vibes flowing freely playing “Saturday Night,” giving the perfect amount of love to their new album Rally Cry, without neglecting the older material. Don’t you just love carefully thought out set lists? For the encore Arkells brought out members of Lord Huron and a couple of crowd members to go nuts on a cover of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” before finishing on the epic, heartwarming love song “My Heart’s Always Yours.”
Hey Arkells? Can you play Montreal again next week please? Can you play my birthday party? Free cake I promise…and beer. Cheers.
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito