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Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day Five, Arkells

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8zBhh8oNph4hB-1GZIxDfqu1FulKFBKZ75Lqr4MySWwOttawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day Five, Arkells

Since releasing their debut full-length album, Jackson Square in 2008, the Arkells have worked hard, toured extensively, released two more albums and picked up a few Juno Awards as well as other accolades along the way.

The atmosphere at Bluesfest’s Canadian Stage on Sunday was hot, clammy and filled with an exhausted-looking crowd. Security continuously tried to cool the crowd with water. 

As 8:30pm rolled around and Arkells stepped on stage, it seemed only the first few rows of the crowd actually cared. This was perhaps due to the excruciatingly hot and humid weather, however once the music started, the audience was up, dancing and crowd surfing in no time at all.

The Hamilton alt-rock darlings, performed in support of their newest album released last year, High Noon, which is perhaps their strongest album to date. While the band ran through some new tracks such as “Systematic” and “11:11”, old hits were also far from forgotten during this unquestionable concert-turned-dance party with the band playing fan favourites, including “On Paper”, and “Michigan Left” from their 2011 record of the same title, as well as “Ballad of Hugo Chavez” and “Pullin’ Punches” from their first album.

xO-NxW12J7Sybon9xDi5D5EAy-qK8qDT3J_cIzfZ4zUFrontman Max Kerman was energetic and animated throughout the whole set. He delivered an excellent vocal performance accompanied by Anthony Carone and Mike Deangelis’ delicately beautiful harmonies, while keeping the crowd of fans enticed at all times.

“Let’s take care of each other tonight Ottawa! Let me see you dance!” Kerman screamed out to the crowd.

The band did an excellent job in breaking the barrier between audience and performer, having numerous moments of crowd participation. Instead of a sea of cellphones and cameras, the adoring crowd clapped, sang and danced along to every song, from early favourites like “Oh, the Boss is Coming!” and “John Lennon” to High Noon highlights “Dirty Blonde” and “Come to Light.”

Arkells commanded the crowd with an effortless energy, creating a positive feel-good vibe and almost celebratory experience for all who attended Sunday night’s event.

Kx1rK7upFEgxMHrMFV1xbOQKDGZhN8OeG6iBhC6KTosJust when I thought the show could not have ended on a better note, with the performance of “Whistleblower”, the band took a minor teaser break and returned quickly for an impressive, show-stopping encore, performing “Cynical Bastards” and “Leather Jacket”, which, judging by the crowd’s response, fans had been waiting to hear all night.

The best thing about Arkells’ Bluesfest gig was their absolute ease and confidence on stage. They played a passionate and unimaginable energetic show.

The gratitude they had for their fans was apparent every second of the set. They seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves on stage, and gave off the absolute furthest thing from pretentiousness, which further cemented their status as authentic Canadian music heroes.

fFOHvao9Fmd-pHg9OKp37mRN6hSyneVskRFumFavEPkWritten by Joelle Dahan

Photos provided by Buesfest

THE SCENE

Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day One

Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day Two

Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day Three

Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day Four

Griffin Elliot