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Summer is HERE

Photo Cred: Nathan Nash

 

Hey gang,
 
That third weekend in June has become a pretty special time of year for our camp, and this year did not disappoint. We’re still buzzing from the show last weekend at Budweiser Stage. In case you missed it, Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse joined us on stage for a tune. We also did a full set of our favourite classic soul songs. And the weather was perfect.
 
I’ve ran into a bunch of people who were up on the lawns for the show, and all the reports indicate that it was a full rager up there. Love to hear that.
 
We’ve also announced a slew of awesome new shows for the rest of 2019. They include headline shows in Canada this fall (ARENAS!) summer festival dates and headline shows in Europe and the US, and a few other things we can’t tell you about yet! Keep checking the tour page.
 
Last thing: we have the best job in the world, and it’s because *you* seem to care. So thanks for sharing these moments with us.
 
Xo
Max, Nick, Mike, Tim, Anthony
 
 
 
 

RAPS CHAMPS

 
I’ve been a Raptors fan since the inaugural 1995 season. As a 9 year old, I have memories of checking the Toronto Star Sports Section every morning, flipping to the Rookie Leader Board to see how Damon Stoudamire was faring against Jerry Stackhouse. I wrote Vince Carter a letter to attend my 12th birthday party. My first email address was vince_kerman@hotmail.com (now defunct). In grade 7, I phoned up the Air Canada Centre and asked to interview GM Glen Grunwald for a school project (I think the assignment was vaguely “people in your community you look up to”?). Surprisingly, they put me right through to his office and I ended up getting a tour of the practice facility. 
 
At 7 or 8 years old, my dad put up a hoop in our small backyard in downtown Toronto and I practiced out there for hours on end. I played on my (very mediocre) elementary and high school hoops team, some rec league squads at Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre, and then intramural at McMaster University. 
 
Looking back, basketball was one of the ways I connected and interacted with people from all over the city. I didn’t think of any of this at the time, but the court was and is one of the most diverse places in the city. I was a minority in a sea of Chinese, Italian, Ethiopian, Caribbean kids.  
 
Watching this Raps championship run has been one of the most memorable and fun things in my life. Mike and I got to attend a handful of home games and I’ve never felt more lucky. Of course I love Kyle and Kawhi, and all the players and staff that made this all possible, but what I loved the most was seeing the city come together and come alive. It’s the best. Truly. 
 
Basketball aside, here are things I love, and that I think actually are important:
  • People congregating in public parks and squares with a grin on their face.
  • People joyously walking in the streets.
  • Interacting with people you don’t always get a chance to.
  • Moments that remind us that we have something in common, and how nice that feeling can be.
In 2019 it’s easy to get silo’d in your own little community and tethered to your screen, so I thank the Raptors for the reminding us of how good it feels to be apart of something bigger than ourselves, and how sharing the streets is good for the soul. 
 
Max
 
 
 

Junos and Rally Cry Summer Night

Cred: Rob Loud

For the past few summers, we put on our thinking caps to throw the best party of the summer. This year at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, we will be hosting A RALLY CRY SUMMER NIGHT on Saturday June 22.

We’ll be performing all our fave Arkells jams, and a super rare SOUL REVUE to cap off the night. What’s a Soul Revue? Every once in a while when we feel like we really need to boogie, we’ll dig in to our fave Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, The Temptations tunes. Hell we might even get a Beyonce tune. These songs offer so much love and joy, and in the spirit of community and DANCING, now is the time to play ‘em.

Kicking off the night will be Judah & the Lion, and Bonjay – both acts we truly admire. 

The pre-sale starts TMRW at 10am with the password: DANCEPARTY. You can get tickets HERE.

If you want to party on the lawns, we have a deal on ticket packs for groups of 4. We’re offering a limited batch of 4 tix for $99 with code ARKELLSROADTRIP. Get ’em while you can! General on-sale starts Friday @ 10am.

In OTHER NEWS! 

We performed HAND ME DOWNS at the JUNO Awards and picked up Group Of The Year and Rock Album Of The Year. RALLY CRY producer Eric Ratz also won Producer Of The Year for his work on our tunes. 

So much thanks to everyone who messaged us words of encouragement and congrats. We share these trophies with YOU.

See you soon!

Arkells 

Rally Cry Tour Update

Photo: Rob Loud/Bob Delight

Greetings from the road. The Rally Cry tour has been underway for about six weeks now, winding through Canada and the US. The tour has been long on great times and short on bad ones. From go-karting in Cincy, playing on a train in Calgary, watching the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, or not having to wear a winter jacket in Atlanta, we’ve had lots of great experiences in addition to playing every night.

It’s never always sunshine and lollipops – our bus lost heat traveling in between Calgary and Saskatoon. Overnight. In February. When it was -40. Tim almost turned into popsicle. Luckily we got the big guy dethawed by showtime. Thanks to our all-star crew in keeping the show running smoothly despite temperatures so cold they aren’t good for anyone except long underwear salespeople.

This tour has been a special one for us. We’ve had a great time experimenting with new production, stage bits and musical arrangements. We get a lot of joy out of building a memorable live show and it’s a lot of fun to see these ideas come to life in front of an audience. Thanks to everyone who’s come out to a show so far.

This week we head back to the Midwest USA – Chicago and Detroit, before making a pit stop in London, Ontario for the Junos. We’ll be recording a fresh session with our friends at Audio Tree in Chicago, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that as well.

Next on the docket are some fun summer announcements and the western US leg of the Rally Cry tour. If you live in California, Arizona, Colorado and Portland, we’re coming for ya soon. If you have a song request hit us up on the Rally Cry hotline.

 

Nick

2018 Favorite Things: Nick

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Nick’s 2018 Favorite Things:

Song – Mr. Tillman – Father John Misty

The song itself is an airy folk-pop ballad and the lyrics are a funny and ironic story of a musician’s erratic behaviour at a hotel. Given how long we’ve been making rock and folk music, it feels fresh to me when musicians don’t take themselves or their genres overly seriously. But unlike a lot of people with funny/clever lyrics, I think Father John Misty does a great job of doing this while also being able to say something interesting at the same time – whether its about society at large (like on Pure Comedy) or about himself on Mr. Tillman.

Book – House on Ninth Street – Larry Towell

This isn’t a new book, but with the migration crisis that’s happening at the US/Mexican border I thought it would be relevant to include a book that could provide background on some of the Central American political issues that often don’t get discussed as widely as they should. House on Ninth Street is a book by Canadian photojournalist Larry Towell that tells the story of missing persons Guatemala during the 1980s and the government’s role in the events.

Albums of the Year

There were so many albums I enjoyed this year it was too hard to pick just one. But I am gonna say rap won the year. Some of my favourites:

Vince Staples – FM!
Kid Cudi and Kanye – Kids See Ghosts
Pusha T – Daytona
J. Cole – KOD
Sheck Wes – Mudboy

Sports Story – Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani’s major league debut is one of the most under appreciated stories in all of sports this year. At 23-years-old and with no major league experience, he did something no one has done in 100 years…and was really good at both. And he did it all with a torn ligament in his pitching arm. It’s like if Sidney Crosby played goalie in the NHL too. If he’s able to build on his rookie season, I think we could be talking about one of the best athletes and baseball players of all-time in a few years.

Movie – Annihilation

The movie is about a group of military personnel that are tasked with exploring an unidentified natural phenomenon called “the shimmer”. The Shimmer is causing people to disappear and is gradually getting bigger and bigger. I usually don’t love sci-fi or horror movies but Annihilation piqued my interest because of how it deals with bigger human themes and personal relationships. It was directed by the same man (Alex Garland) who directed Ex Machina and stars Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac.

2018 Favorite Things: Tim

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Tim “Big Horn”‘ Oxford’s 2018 Favorite Things:

Favorite Piece of Tech – Google Home Max

I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this unit. Not only does the speaker sound great, on a whim I can ask to hear any song when linked to Apple Music or Spotify, as well as a million other things. I ask it to send me directions to my phone, use it as a timer, weather forecast, etc. Truly surprised how much I use, as well as enjoy this thing.

Favorite Drum Accessory – Tackle Stick Bag

The fine folks at Tackle have been known for making some amazing products by hand. I acquired their stick bag this year and loved it so much I bought another right away. Not only is it amazing to look at, it’s made by drummers for drummers. Time and time again I’m impressed by the practicality of it even though I was initially drawn by it’s aesthetics. Can’t recommend highly enough.

Favorite Podcast – The Rich Roll Podcast

I’ve been a fan of Rich’s for a long time but delved in extra deep this year to his podcast. There are so many hours of incredible content. Mostly a long form conversational format, the guests jump from Joe Rogan to your everyday man who has overcome a personal obstacle to betterment. Truly inspiring conversations of self betterment, living your best, most authentic self life, to incredibly inspirational, real life stories. Check it out! Rich is amazing.

Favorite (non music related) day on tour – Phoenix Az

I had the pleasure, thanks to a good friend, Ian Leggat, and new friend, Dave Kelly, to play a very private golf course in Phoenix Arizona called “Whisper Rock.” As a lifetime golfers I can honestly say, this was a once in a lifetime golf experience. The conditions are untouchable, at least in anything I’ve encountered, and the service was like no other to date. If you should ever find an opportunity and have even a mild interest in golf, you would be crazy to pass this up. Google the place if you don’t believe me!

 

2018 Favorite Things: Mike

Photo: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Mike’s 2018 faves:

Song:  Robyn “Missin U”

It’s too hard to pick an album of the year (but if you twisted my arm it’d probably be the Arctic Monkey’s Tranquility Base Hotel) but I can say the song that hit me the hardest this year would be ‘Missin U’.  There’s something about the urgency in her voice, the crystalline synths, and her longing message for human connection that really sets a perfect mood. 

New Discovery:  Bob Dylan – Infidels 

Max showed me the song ‘Man of Peace’ off this record earlier this year, and since then I’ve dove head first into this record.  Produced by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame, along side reggae legends Sly and Robbie on drums and bass and Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones on guitar, this record has some real heavy hitters playing on it.  I also think that Dylan’s lyrics here are some of his best – as packed with wit and wisdom as any of his work.  Aside from ‘Man of Peace’, I’m also loving the tracks ‘Jokerman’ and ‘Neighbourhood Bully’.

Book:  Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

This novel tells the story of a hedge fund manager on the run through America with nothing but a greyhound ticket and a suitcase full of vintage watches.  Woven into this ‘On the Road’-esque story line is a cutting analysis of the absurdity of the ultra wealthy, with a dark wit that’s legitimately laugh out loud funny. I read this while on tour and loved the way this book has a sense of constant motion with amazing little details about life on the road.

Movie:  First Man

I’ve loved the history of space travel since I was a kid, so this movie is right up my alley. It’s able to reflect the sober reality and humanity of Neil Armstrong and his family, while also capturing the intensity inside the Apollo spacecraft in a way that felt so vividly real. Amazing cinematography, especially during the dead silent *spoiler alert* moon landing scene. 

Radio Show:  Time Crisis

Hosted by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Jake Longstreth and resident number cruncher (and fellow Canadian) Seinfeld2000, this zany Apple Music radio show has become one of my favourite podcasts/internet radio shows.  These guys have way too much fun deep diving on topics such as the tasteful palette of the 70’s, corporate food history, the Jokerman font, cold brew coffee and much much more.  Each episode ends with a the crisis crew’s hot takes on the top 5 songs of today and the top five songs from some point in music history.

2018 Favorite Things: Max

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Max’s 2018 faves:

Album – Phoebe Bridgers

I know this record came out in 2017 but I didn’t hear it until a month ago. Awesome songs and  intimate lyrics – but also funny lyrics. I get a good chuckle out a bunch of lines. If you’re a fan of Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, you’ll love it. 

Movie – Beautiful Boy.

This movie really wrecked me. I usually stay away from heavy/drug movies because I know it’ll be in a weird state of mind for the next 24 hours, but I’m glad I saw this. Great performances, heart wrenching story. 

Podcast

There are so many great podcasts out there. I have a number of go-to’s that I never miss: Slate Gist, Slate Political Gabfest, The Daily, Bill Simmons, Zach Lowe. But lately I love the Dax Shepard podcast – he consistently gets great guests and has really spirited conversations. I relate to him because he ask the same kind of questions I would, with a similar enthusiasm. 

Fave (non-show) work experience 

I had the chance to talk to my favourite writer Michael Lewis on the phone for a piece I wrote for Macleans Magazine. For 45 minutes I got to ask him anything about his life and career. He couldn’t have been more open, kind and forthcoming. It was such a rush.

Concert: Bruno Mars at Scotiabank

I love Bruno Mars. He is the ultimate entertainer. He’s flawless in his execution and has a helluva fun time doing it. 

2018 Favorite Things: Anthony

Cred: Jess Baumung

It’s that special time of year. As we gather round whatever it is we prefer to gather round, one topic that often gets discussed is favorite things from the year that was. So in that same tradition, and in case you’re looking for something to watch/listen to/read or think about during the holidays, we wanted to share with you some of our personal favorite things from 2018.

Thank you for helping make 2018 such a wonderful year for us as a band. We’re wishing you all the best for the holidays and can’t wait to see you in 2019.

Here’s some of Tony’s 2018 faves:

Album – Jeff Rosenstock: POST

This album came out Jan. 1st, and I’m still loving it. You can really feel the American anxiety, post-Trump, through Jeff’s lyrics. Mix in Jeff’s extensive musical vocabulary and raw, unadulterated punk-rock vibes; it’s hands down my fav record of 2018.

Highlights are: the 7:32 minute “USA”, & “Yr Throat”.

Movie – Avengers: Infinity War

Nerd alert! I’ve been a little obsessed with the MCU films. They’re such consistent movies, and it’s dollar for dollar, action-packed entertainment. I saw Infinity War, alone, during the Frank Turner tour in the UK back in the spring and had a blast. Truly stoked for the next installment. Maybe another tour solo-movie?

Book – Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine

I won’t lie, I’m still working through this book, but it’s definitely been a favourite for 2018. Every time I pick it up, I get so fucking angry that I only have a ten page window to work with. If you wanna rage about injustices, pick it up!

Podcast – Bill Burr: Monday Morning Podcast

Bill’s a sh*thead, I’m a sh*thead; it’s just a fun, easy pod to listen to. Will always remain my fav.

Concert – Elton John @ MSG

Regardless of the cheese factor throughout the show, this was hands down my favourite concert of 2018. We had 2 nights off in NYC during our tour with St. Lucia, and it lined up with Elton John’s first of two nights at MSG. How could we not go?! Got very drunk & sang my ass off. Highlight of the show for me was “The Bitch Is Back”, and the epic percussionist, Ray Cooper. Dude is a SHOWMAN!

Tour Update: UK

Photo Cred: Ben Morse

Hello from Glasgow, Scotland, where the band is getting ready to play tonight at King Tut’s.

We’ve had a great time playing shows and hanging out here in the United Kingdom this week. To locals, cornish pasties, cask ales and highway rest stops that aren’t McDonald’s may be old hat – but to us Canadians, they are a much welcomed treat that we don’t get to enjoy when touring in North America. Don’t get me wrong, we love Tim Hortons, but being able to roll into a Marks and Spencer’s and get grilled calamari* to eat in the van is a pretty wonderful thing.

This week’s UK shows have been really special – we made a lot of new friends when we came over in the spring to play with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, and it means a lot to the band to see so many familiar faces coming out to see our headline shows. To everyone who came out in Bristol, Manchester and London – thank you. You’re the reason we’re losing our voices and throwing our backs out. And it’s totally worth it.

Another highlight of the tour has been being able to share the bill with Felix Hagan and the Family. FHATF are an extremely talented, tremendously entertaining band that blow us away each time they take the stage. They are also an incredibly wonderful group of people to spend time with every day. Playing with a band like them is always inspiring. We are already researching where we can purchase mass amounts of glitter back home in Canada.

This week’s shows in Leeds and Brighton are sold out (but there are still a few tickets left for Wednesday night in Birmingham at Hare and Hounds). It means a lot to come all the way across the ocean and get the opportunity to play to a room full of music lovers and we are already chomping at the bit to get back the the UK again in 2018. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’ve still got a week’s worth of gigs before we have to head home so hope to see you soon!

 

Nick

 

 

 

*I know this is weird. Everyone else gets those sweet pre-made sandwiches and salads but come on; you’re not going to not get calamari, right?