It’s no secret that Arkells are one of Canada’s best rock bands. Their energy is infectious and their songs are catchy as hell. At the beginning of February, they took over the Commodore Ballroom for two nights, bringing openers Modern Space and Dreamers along for the ride. Both shows were absolutely spectacular, and boasted different setlists. It was an absolute treat to be able to photograph such an incredibly talented band two nights in a row, especially because I was lucky enough to score All Access on night #2. At the Commodore Ballroom, no less! Shoutout to Arkells’ lighting designer for creating some of the most amazing lighting I’ve had the pleasure of shooting.
Arkells opened up night #2 with Fake Money, the opening track of 2015’s High Noon. From the get-go to the very last moments, the band bounced around the stage with endless energy, and every single member of the audience went nuts for the entire duration of the two-hour, 23-song set. The setlist was peppered with songs old and new, and the crowd knew every word. Standout singalongs included 11:11 and Book Club, as well as Agent Zero, which was easily my favourite song of the night. Standout moments included nearly every audience member waving their cellphone or lighter for Deadlines, a steady glow lighting up the room.
Though night #1 featured an incredible cover of Said The Whale’s I Love You featuring Tyler Bancroft, Arkells upped the game for night #2, bringing out Dan Mangan and covering Vessel during the encore. Arkells also brought out all the guys from Modern Space and Dreamers (and re-invited Dan Mangan to the stage!) to help cover David Bowie. Both the stage and the audience were absolutely wild, and bodies were flying everywhere. Closing up the set with Leather Jacket resulted in easily the best sing-along of the night (“YOU CALLED ME UP FROM A PAYPHONE…”).
You can never get enough Arkells, and I totally could have gone for a round three. Thanks for an amazing two nights.
Setlist (though it changed slightly – Whistleblower and Ballad moved down the line)
Come To Light
Where U Goin
Ballad of Hugo Chavez
Pulling Punches (+ Elton John/Billy Joel Piano Challenge)
Crawling Through The Window
Oh, The Boss Is Coming!
No Champagne Socialist
What Are You Holding On To
Never Thought That This Would Happen
Kiss Cam (Acoustic on B-stage)
Vessel (Dan Mangan cover with the man himself)
Modern Love (David Bowie cover)