Ain’t no party like an Arkells party – this has always been true and it’s been a pleasure seeing the Canadians stay true to their form as they made their long-awaited return to the capital last week.
Turning a Friday night in London into a huge celebration maybe wasn’t the hardest task Arkells ever had to face but what a beautiful one it was, commemorating the release of their new record Blink Twice, the follow up to last year’s Blink Once.
The 17-track set was filled with a career-spanning choice of songs but heavily featuring the band’s two latest records, which wee in very dire need of being blasted out throughout venues of the UK. With special guest Lights, who also featured as one of the collaborations on Blink Twice, it was set to be one the band’s best live shows yet.
Max Kerman said of the London show: “The album comes out the day of our London, UK show. It’s our biggest London show ever and after all of the stops and starts of the past few years there is no better city in the world to let these songs start living their own life.“
Past Life opened the non-stop celebration at London’s Electric Brixton and instantly the band had the crowd at their finger tips. Frontman Max Kerman’s charismatic showmanship has not rusted throughout the pandemic and it’s a real treat to witness this level of interaction with a crowd.
With Leather Jacket the band dive right into the nostalgia and the era that gave them their start in the UK. An absolute crowd favorite, Leather Jacket is never not the most fun person at the party and everyone just loves shouting “Who the f*ck uses a payphone” as the song draws to a close.
Another fan favourite makes an early appearance in the set, tugging at all of our heartstrings because let’s be honest And Then Some may just be the best love song ever written (with the exception of maybe a handful of Springsteen songs). The one where the first notes give you goosebumps, the one where the first verse has you full-on heart-eye-emoji-face and the one where the chorus will always demand to be sung at the top of your lungs, whether you’re in love singing it for that special someone or you’re single and whishing you had someone to sing this too. I adore you cause you don’t know where I came from, just kiss me in the dark while my lips are numb. And I love every inch of you and then some, and then some, and then some. Now tell me that wouldn’t melt your heart like butter in the summer sun.
And as if the song alone wasn’t enough to bring out the hopeless romantics in all of us, Max brought a guy on stage who’s been wanting to sing that song to his wife, so that’s of course what happened – cue all the girls saying “you never do anything like this for me” that evening (sorry guys!).
The love-infused track is matched in energy by 11:11, of which Max jokingly says it should be 23:11 as we’re in the UK. This certified bop never fails to get the entire crowd going and was the perfect counterpart to a swoon-worthy ballad.
For Human Being Lights rejoins the stage to perform the track with Arkells just as she did on Blink Twice. And fan requests also rear their heads with a stunning acoustic performance of Dirty Blonde, off of 2014’s High Noon record.
The remainder of the band’s London show is filled heavily with dopamine-fuelled tracks, dance-worthy covers such as Chris Kenner’s Land Of 1000 Dances and ABBA’s classic Gimme!Gimme!Gimme!, and nothing but pure joy, reminding us just why we missed Arkells so much here in the UK.
Don’t be long, boys! We sure love an Arkells party.