When you buy tickets for an Arkells concert, you’re signing up for a night full of singing, dancing and uninhibited head-banging. The Nov. 25 show at Budweiser Gardens promises to be no different.
The London concert will be the biggest in the Arkells’ Knocking At The Door Tour, which travels through Canada and the U.S. up until Dec. 9. Max Kerman, the band’s lead singer, expressed that it’s one of the concerts he’s most looking forward to in the upcoming months.
“London has always been one of our best places to play. Last time we headlined a show there, we played London Music Hall, and it was such a bonkers concert,” he laughed. “The London crowd knows how to get down.”
One of Kerman’s favourite things about performing in cities like London is having students in the audience. The Arkells have performed at Western University before, having played at 2016's Purple Fest.
The band formed when three of the members — Kerman, Nick Dika and Mike DeAngelis — met at McMaster University, so Kerman recognizes the importance of bringing music to university towns.
“I hope we can perform for and maybe even inspire younger generations,” he stated. “If there are a lot of Fanshawe kids or Western kids at the show, that would be really cool. I just know how much music meant to me when I was that age.”
Kerman also expressed that above all else, the goal of every Arkells concert is to get the audience dancing and singing along. Whether it’s to the tune of a hit like "Leather Jacket" or a cover of a Motown classic, Arkells want the audience up on their feet.
“The best shows are the ones where the audience is just as into it as we are,” said Kerman.
The band’s charismatic approach to performing is inspired by artists like Gord Downie, who was known for giving it his all during every performance.
“We toured with The Hip, and it was amazing to see them perform. Because the guy at the front of the crowd was dancing and was really into it, everybody would become that much more uninhibited,” he said. “As a lead singer, you learn to lead by example.”
The ability to get a crowd dancing isn’t the only parallel between Arkells and Gord Downie. While they may be more subtle than Downie was, Arkells also find ways to include political or social commentary into their sets and their songs. This particular tour is named after "Knocking At The Door," a song which was heavily inspired by the women’s marches early this year.
“We didn’t make a concentrated effort to make this a political tour, but we always want to be writing and talking about things that are meaningful to us,” Kerman explained. “I think all of our songs come from a place of passion — whether they’re about relationships or friendships or politics.”
The performance at Budweiser Gardens will feature Matt Mays as an opening act, and this isn’t the first time Arkells have shared a stage with Mays.
“Matt is actually an old friend. During our first ever proper tour, we opened for him back in 2008,” Kerman stated. “His band is killer and he is one of our favourite songwriters. These concerts together are going to be great.”
Tickets for the Knocking At The Door Tour can be purchased through the Arkells’ website. Bring your dancing shoes.