Saying Goodbye to Summer with the Arkells at the CNE

Arkells @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12

Date of show: August 29, 2012
Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

If you live in the GTA, going to the Ex is likely an end-of-summer tradition. Trying outrageous foods, playing the midway, and going on rides is a once-a-year requirement. On this night, your $5-after-5pm admission also got you into one of the hottest shows of the season. What a steal!

Another summer necessity is seeing Arkells at least once. It seems many people feel the same as fans came out in droves – many arriving early that day, some bearing hand-drawn signs, and donning their newly purchased merchandise. The band made sure to give them one more great summer memory. Frontman Max Kerman was such a charmer in his banter; he truly knows exactly how to dazzle a crowd, and soon had them worked up into a fevered frenzy.

As for their set, they pulled out quite a few old favourites from Jackson Square, many of which don’t make the setlist that often anymore. They still managed to play the majority of Michigan Left and even introduced their new song “Ticats Are Hummin.” A highlight though was definitely Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” being inserted into the middle of “Abigail,” taking the place of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Also the appearance of old pal and original member Dan Griffin part way through, who strapped on the guitar and joined them on stage.

Unable to deny the chanting crowd an encore, the band came back for three more songs. First, they sent out “Deadlines” to all those who were gearing up for the upcoming school year. Midway through the song, Kerman requested the crowd take out a lighter or their cell phone and raise it above their head. He led everyone in the childhood tune “This Little Light of Mine.” The swaying lights and singing voices in the darkness of the end-of-August night was a pretty magical sight to behold.

To the delight of the young audience, Lights even made a surprise appearance, coming out to sing on their cover of Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.” As per tradition, they ended with “John Lennon.” If you’ve ever seen Arkells live, you already know what a party this one turns into, with near everyone shouting along, and some even throwing beads on stage. There may have also been some crowd surfing happening!

Never one to disappoint, this Hamilton five-piece proved once again why they are one of the best live bands in Canada right now. They are one of the few that I still insist on fighting off the throes of young girls to be up front for. And while we may be past the age of “going back to school,” it was still a perfect night to wave goodbye to summer.

Arkells @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 Arkells @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 Arkells @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 Arkells @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 Arkells @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12

The Darcys

Former tourmates and Toronto locals, The Darcys opened the night. There is something so enchanting about watching this four-piece on stage. Not one for small talk between songs, frontman Jason Couse said little beyond “We’re The Darcys, thanks for coming, we have T-shirts and CDs for sale” a couple of times. But nothing more was necessary. The band still knows how to hook an audience – with their music. It’s near impossible not to be drawn into their live performance, especially as Couse alternates between keys and guitar – sometimes in the same song.

They played songs off both their self-titled release and reinterpretation of Steely Dan’s Aja. A set favourite still remains the track “Shaking Down the Old Bones.” It was absolutely riveting to watch, especially with the setting sun and darkening sky as the backdrop. While this song starts slow, it soon moves into the haunting repetition of “right heart, wrong time” before the instruments swell, leading into the refrain “stop thinking like a millionaire.”

While much of the crowd may have been there early in anticipation of the headliners, The Darcys, won their attention, leaving the ever-growing crowd infatuated and hopefully garnering themselves some new fans!

If you haven’t yet, you can grab both of their full-length LPs for free download over on their website. Do it!

The Darcys @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 The Darcys @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 The Darcys @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 The Darcys @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 The Darcys @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12 The Darcys @ CNE Bandshell Park, 29-08-12

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Categories: Live Music


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