To say that it’s been a memorable few weeks would be an understatement. Thank you to everyone who came to the Rally. June 23rd was a very special day for us, not just because of the show, but because of all the wonderful friends, artists and neighbors from the community that we got to share the day with. It will not soon be forgotten. Our full thank you is posted here.
And speaking of things that won’t soon be forgotten, June 22nd marked the arrival of the newest member of the Arkells family – Anthony’s son, Oscar, who was born the day before the Rally. He’s super adorable and to the surprise of most, despite being alive for less than three weeks, he still doesn’t scream as much as his father. But to be fair, most of the screaming Tony does it at the TV (when Fox news is on).
Since then, we’ve been back on the road at played some pretty memorable shows. Last week we were in Ottawa for Canada Day, where we played on Parliament Hill in what was officially our hottest outdoor performance ever. We have a no shorts on stage rule that was very rigorously contested that day. I won’t say by who, but I will say they looked slightly uncomfortable when meeting the foreign dignitaries after the performance.
This weekend we went up north to play in Sudbury and Thunder Bay. While neither was our first trip to each city, it was our first in sometime. Thunder Bay is truly beautiful in the summer. The evergreen trees and rock shield that line Lake Superior made for a beautiful backdrop for the Thunder Bay Blues Fest. And we were honored for the opportunity to play with Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan. As picturesque as Thunder Bay was, Bell Park in Sudbury gave TBay a run for its money, and we had a great time helping to kick off the Northern Lights Festival. We will be back sooner rather than later.
We’re gonna spend the next couple weeks working on mixing and mastering the new record before we head to PEI (another place we haven’t been in a lil’ bit) and all over the damn place at the end of July and into early August.
See ya than,
June 5th, 2018
As we get closer and closer to the Rally, our summer kickoff show in Hamilton, we’re going to be announcing different events and festivities around the city in conjunction with the concert.
This week, we announced the Rally Market we are hosting in conjunction with Hamilton Flea outside of the Cannon Street entrance to Tim Hortons Field. The market will be open from 1pm till 5pm on show day (June 23) and will showcase some of the city’s best artists, designers and food trucks. The market is free and open to the public, but we recommend that you stick around for the show too. If ya haven’t got your tickets already, you can get them here. If you’re saving money to pay for a new air conditioner (it’s summer, we feel you), we’ve released some $24 tickets in the bleachers that should be in your price range, too.
Our friends at Merit Brewery also announced a limited edition beer and sausage to commemorate the show. They both come highly recommended and the beer is being sold in a limited edition commemorative bottle starting this Saturday.
We have a few more fun events and plans to roll out surrounding the show so keep your eyes on our social accounts in the coming weeks. See ya at the showwwwwwww.
May 18th, 2018
We back. After four weeks without playoff hockey and proper Mexican food, we are back in our home and native land. But when you give you get, and we were treated to a month’s worth of curries, cask ales, and most importantly, the chance to meet and play for some incredible music fans every night on the Be More Kind tour.
We are going to miss out gracious tour hosts Frank Turner and our tour mate Derek (aka the Homeless Gospel Choir). We actually loved Derek so much that we started a punk band with him. But we will be seeing them again real soon. And you should too. Derek and Frank both put on incredibly entertaining live shows and you absolutely need go to the show when they roll through your town.
For everyone back here in North America, we are getting ready for our festival shows this summer and putting the finishing touches on our new record. Stay tuned on more info on these happenings next month. More importantly, our wonderful manager Ashley was recognized with the Manager of the Year award at the Canadian Music Week LIMA Awards!
Needles to say we are thrilled for her. Ash is one of the smartest and hardest working people in music. She is also tirelessly positive and this couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. Her hard work and amazing spirit makes everything better (and easier) for the five of us in the band. Congrats, MOTY, you deserve it.
UK Tour Week 4
May 9th, 2018
Photo Cred: Shot by Simmons
Just when we were getting used to the cool, grey weather that is so common here on the islands of the North Atlantic, the sun has come out and we’ve been treated to some pretty beautiful spring weather in London and Southend-on-sea over the past few days.
As always, the shows this week past have been a treat. In addition to Southend, we played the hollowed university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. Both of which put the architecture of Canadian universities (and Canada in general) to shame. This really shouldn’t be a surprise given both institutions were founded five hundred years before Canada was. The Corn Exchange in Cambridge is a refurbished old venue with a pretty rich musical history. It’s equally impressive that the same venue that hosted David Bowie, Oasis, Queen and Iron Maiden was also used to trade cattle. Which has given us a good idea for our next headline tour…
Oxford is a particularly special place to us because dear friend of the band/McMaster University history professor Dr. Mat Savelli, worked on both his MA and his PhD at St. Antony’s College. He is the one responsible for introducing the band British chocolate, betting shops and football (we’ve been to White Heart Lane twice) and in this case, the best places to check out in Oxford. We love him for it (amongst many other more important qualities).
This week we finish up our time here in the UK with shows in Hull, Norwich and London before heading back to North America on Sunday.
But most importantly this week, we want to give a special shout out to our tour host, Frank Turner, whose new record, Be More Kind, was released this past Friday. Be More Kind has become a fast favorite and been in heavy rotation in both the van and my phone all week. Frank and the band have made another fantastic record well deserving of both your attention and your support. Congrats to them on releasing another gem.
UK Tour Week Three
April 30th, 2018
Just like the centre of a Cadbury Cream Egg, we are into the creamy middle of our month-long UK and Ireland tour with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Typically, we are only in the UK for a few days, so this trip we’ve tried to take in as much of the country as possible. I promise that doesn’t just mean just trying new chocolate bars (although that is a big part of it). With a day off between shows in Exeter and Cambridge on Sunday, we went full tourist. We basically got as British as you could without getting into professional cricket.
On our way to Cambridge, we made a pit stop at Stonehenge to see for ourselves if we could solve the mystery of the gigantic, prehistoric stones. While we couldn’t come to agreement on how the stones got there or what they were used for (Max thinks it was the world’s oldest CrossFit gym), we were able to prevent a major accident – which wasn’t the case the last time we visited a World Heritage site and Mike almost fell into the Grand Canyon.
After Stonehenge, we participated in another very British tradition – our first Sunday roast. For those who aren’t from the UK, Sunday roast is a big dinner that Brits serve in pubs on Sunday afternoons. Think Christmas dinner – turkey, ham roast beef, taters, veg (see, we are becoming more British) and of course, Yorkshire pudding. Washed down with your favorite cask ale.
But our very British Sunday wasn’t the only extracurriculars we got up to this week. On Friday, we visited our namesake brewery in Swindon. And on Thursday in Liverpool we did all the Beatles-related things we could. Including firing our drummer. Just kidding, we would never do that, but we did visit the Beatles museum and the Cavern Club. If you’re wondering who got suckered into buying the most Beatles merch, the answer is very obviously Tony.
This week we head to England’s southwest for shows in Cambridge, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Leicester and Oxford. More updates to come.
UK Tour Week Two
April 24th, 2018
Photo Cred: Jess Baumung
We’re rolling into week two of our UK and Ireland tour and every thing is tippy top on the European side of the Atlantic. We spent the weekend in Scotland, playing in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, which for a bunch of Canadians, meant being in complete awe of all the architecture, history, bagpipes and Tesco’s. The shows were fantastic and it was a real treat to visit some cities that we’ve never had the opportunity to visit before.
Another really amazing element of the tour I think we should mention is that Frank Turner and the team have decided to cut the amount of plastic water bottles they are using on the road. When we arrived in Manchester, we had reusable canteens waiting for us, and instead of the typical cases of plastic water bottles, there are big water coolers around the venue that the band and crews can use to take a drink or fill up their bottle.
It’s probably not something you wouldn’t notice about a tour just from coming to a show (although Frank and the Sleeping Souls are all drinking from reusable bottles onstage), but it is something that I think we can all agree is important and makes a big difference in the fight against waste and environmental degradation. It’s been a big inspiration and something we are going to try and bring to our own touring operating moving forward. Hat tip to Frank and the gang for being less wasteful and keeping that rock and roll eco footprint as small as possible.
This week we’re back in England, playing Sheffield, Liverpool, Bristol and Exeter. See ya soon!
UK/Ireland Tour Kickoff
April 17th, 2018
Photo Cred: Adam Graves
Top o’ the mornin’ to ye, on this grey, drizzly afternoon. After landing in the UK and playing in Manchester on Friday night, we’ve officially kicked off our month-long UK/Ireland tour with Frank Turner and Homeless Gospel Choir. We are here in Dublin in the midst of the band’s first ever trip to Ireland. Unfortunately, the second show tonight had to be cancelled because Frank has come down with a pretty awful throat infection. Send good vibes his way. As you probably know, it takes a lot to get Frank to cancel a show. He’s a trooper. We’re all hopin’ he’s feeling better soon.
We’ve tried to make the most of the situation and our newfound day off in Dublin. Because I don’t have the constitution to drink whiskey at 12:30 pm and come out the other side alive, I decided to hang back but the rest of the guys did a tour of the Jameson distillery. In lieu of drinking whiskey, I spent some time walking through St. Stephen’s Green, one of the bigger green spaces in downtown Dublin.
Once the rest of the guys were good and day-drunk, I met Mike to walk through Trinity College and reminisce about our own college days at the far newer and less-gargoyle-y McMaster in Hamilton. The college is also home to the original Book of Kells, but we decided we’d rather not pay to see it given that you get a free one in every non-Super 8 Hotel you stay in.
Tour picks back up in Belfast tomorrow. Hope to see ya at a show soon.
April 9th, 2018
We’re excited to share a new song with ya: People’s Champ. We recorded the song last fall in Toronto, with Eric Ratz – the talented producer that we worked with on Knocking at the Door and several songs off our High Noon record. We got the whole gang to play on this one: the Northern Soul horns, the Arkettes, and a first for us; an auxiliary percussionist to play some bongos (don’t get mad at us, Arcade Fire paved the way for this kind of thing). We are currently putting the finishing touches on a new album and plan to release it sometime later this year.
In terms of the context of the song itself, as per Max:
“We’re all looking for leadership that is benevolent and generous, and truly has the will of the people in everything they do. We’re comforted every day by the people in our neighborhood who go the extra mile for their community – especially when they don’t have to. We love that person. This song is about the opposite of that: it’s about the guy who acts like Robin Hood, but is the farthest thing from it. But that’s OK: look around and you’ll find people’s champs all around ya.”
We’ve been practicing up and should be playing the new tune at all of our summer shows and on tour this month in the UK while we open for Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Hope to see ya at a show soon.
Hamilton Show Update
March 14th, 2018
Late last week, we released some additional tickets for our show in Hamilton on June 23rd at Tim Hortons Field. These new tickets include some under $30 bucks for any deal-seekers that have to balance concert ticket purchases against tuition costs, newborn children, summer vacations and kidnapping ransoms.
We’ve also added some additional info to the website on some of our favorite places to eat in for any out of towners. I’ll make you a deal – if you try pizza from my favorite place (Mr. Grande) and Mike’s favorite place (Mattina’s) and you like Mike’s recommendation better, I’ll personally refund you your money.* We are very excited to get the chance to play at home this summer alongside some of our favorite other artists. We’ve also got a little write up on how we came to know and love them. We should be organizing more fun stuff around the show as time goes on so keep your eyes peeled for that.
In terms of more immediate business, next week we will be in Vancouver for the Junos. We will be playing on the TV broadcast Sunday night and appearing at Juno Fan Fest on Saturday afternoon. Given the season starts the following week, I will be drafting my fantasy baseball teams all weekend. Hope to see you there.
*cash equivalent in Blockbuster and Radio Shack gift cards.
March 2nd, 2018
When Tony and I were (rightfully) cut from the men’s Giant slalom ski team in late 2017, we had no idea that we’d still be going to the Olympics this winter. But like a lot of things in 2018, some stuff happened online and things went crazy. Last week, we got the opportunity to spend five days in South Korea during the Olympics.
We got to try all sorts of interesting Korean foods we hadn’t eaten before: some buckwheat noodle soup that is (maybe?) famous in Gangwon, the province where Peyongchang is located, this amazing dessert (we think are called something like dakkas?) that are crudely (this isn’t a food blog…yet), giant mozzarella sticks dipped with cinnamon and sugar. And then of course, authentic Korean BBQ. Multiple times. Aside from eating, we saw some long track speed skating, the Olympic Athletes from Russia play hockey and the men’s bobsled runs on Sunday.
The purpose of the trip was to play for the Canadian athletes in Korea, but what we didn’t realize that we would be playing WITH Canadian athletes in Korea. Justine Dufor-Lapointe, Jesse Lumsden, Tristan Walker, Scott and Tessa all came up to play a little guitar (or in Tristan’s case drums) and do a little singing with us during our show. We returned the favor and did karaoke with them afterwards.
This was the band’s first trip to Korea and definitely a once in a lifetime experience. We got to see and do things that not a lot of people in our position get to do. Everyone we met along the way was nothing short of wonderful to us and we couldn’t have been happier about getting the opportunity to go. Cross one off the bucket list that we didn’t even know was on there to begin with. We’re still smiling a full week later. Now we’re back at work in Ontario – we’re in the studio this week and should have a few more summer show announcements in the next few weeks as well. So stay tuned!