Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Arkells – The Next Great Canadian Export?!?

Posted by xneverwherex on April 18, 2017

Blossoms
Arkells
Wilderado
Bottom of the Hill
April 13, 2017

On a cold night in San Francisco, the inside of Bottom of the Hill looked anything but. People were clearly already preparing for Coachella with short shorts and high boots. The lines were long to get in and it was a packed club. Little did I know, the crowd was not there for headliner Blossoms but showed up in droves for Canadians Arkells, who clearly stole the show.

Blossoms, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, brought back the baggy Madchester scene. Unabashed ’60s pop songs mixed in with psychedelic undertones and in some cases a bit of Abba-esque ’70s sounds. The band played most of the songs off their debut self-titled album. While the band has a lot of hype and is being touted as the next Arctic Monkeys, unfortunately, lead singer Tom Ogden appeared wanting to be anywhere but there. Songs sounded lackluster and there was no energy. But, he did at times sound reminiscent of Alex Turner and even had his same hip gyrations down.

Blossoms

Blossoms

Myles Kellock brought some recognizable dance riffs on his keyboards to the catchy “Honey Sweet“. It sounded like they came out of a New Order song. Towards the end of the set, Tom performed an acoustic number that just didn’t work. As the band stood onstage not doing a thing, it just felt awkward. Thankfully, it was only one song and then they would play the guitar driven “Cut Me And I’ll Bleed“. A simple hook that is destined to get stuck in your head. It stood out.

Blossoms ended the set with the utmost of pop songs, single, “Charlemagne“. The song which is pure catchy, sunshine pop, woke up the crowd which gladly danced along. And with that, the band was gone as quickly as they seemed to come to the stage.

The openers stole the show from the onset. It was going to be a daunting task for anyone to come after Arkells. The boys from Hamilton, ONT. clearly should have been the headliners. The band, who has been playing for 10 years, had just played here a few months before and they did not disappoint.

From the moment Max Kerman, lead singer and guitarist, hit the stage you knew what you were in for. He had a frenetic energy that was contagious. As he said the moment he walked onto the stage, he wanted everyone singing and dancing. He jumped into the crowd during the first song, “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)“, and immediately got the crowd jumping and dancing and as promised he even called out the lyrics for the crowd to sing along.

Arkells - Max Kerman

Arkells – Max Kerman

The band played a really great set with plenty of songs off their new album, Morning Report. Each song told a story and the band just pulled you in. While it would be near impossible to put a label on them, aside from calling them alternative rock, their sound was never static. On “Savannah” the band had some really tight melodies and even had Anthony Carone, keyboards, break out a trumpet. “And Then Some” proved to be a perfect love song with gorgeous guitar riffs coming from the multiple guitars. It was really impressive to hear how all these guitars could melt into the background. Their newest song which was just released a couple of weeks ago, “Knocking At The Door“, was powerful. With a gritty bluesy sound, and Max singing out to “rise up”, it felt like something changed in the crowd. There was a pulse and an energy to the crowd.

While everyone always mentions the UK when it comes to the next newest, hottest band, we really can’t forget about our friends up North. Arkells clearly stole the show tonight. Perhaps touring with Canada’s greatest band The Tragically Hip taught them a thing or two.

LA band by way of Texas and Oklahoma, Wilderado, was the first opener. You could hear their music while waiting outside and they brought some energetic rock-n-roll to the club. The band had a catchy Americana/twangy sound filled with lots of guitars. They were able to uniquely blend how the South meets California sunshine/psychedelia. The band is definitely one to watch.

2 Responses to “Arkells – The Next Great Canadian Export?!?”

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