About a month ago, I had the pleasure of shooting the first date of Arkells‘ headlining Canadian tour, with Frank Turner in tow as direct support. The show was a big deal not just because it was the opening night of the tour (though they had been touring with Frank for the last few months) – this was Arkells’ first ever headlining arena show, and it was happening at at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver, BC.
It’s easy to see why this band has blown up over the last few years – their charisma and charm, combined with catchy tunes and a killer stage presence, is hard to find. When I arrived at the arena, they were just getting ready to start soundcheck before hosting a soundcheck party and Q+A session for loyal fans.
After this, we quickly gallivanted over to The Ubyssey Office (UBC student newspaper) for an intimate acoustic show to an absolutely packed room. Channeling campfire vibes at the end of their short set, Max, Mike and Tony sat in the floor amongst the audience to jam out to Leather Jacket.
It was back to the arena for some grub, and time for the set. The band chose to open up the show with A Little Rain, and only house lighting. Mid song, this changed and the full force of their light show was in effect (always a photographers’ dream to shoot!). There were so many highlights from the set, including an intimate acoustic moment during And The Some, Max sprinting to the back of the crowd to sing Drake’s Dad, Tyler from Said The Whale joining the band to jam My Heart is Always Yours and Frank Turner and his entire band coming out to play Private School while members of Arkells took turns running around and crowd surfing.
Arkells have been one of the hardest working bands in the Canadian music scene for quite some time, and they’re at the peak of their game. Catch them at a festival (or show) near you this summer; you won’t regret it.