Arkells provide jaw-dropping concert for incoming students

"Some of my favourite concerts ever were Frosh week concerts... so if we could be that band for somebody else, that's amazing."

-Max Kerman, Lead Singer [Arkells]

We all start somewhere. For the Arkells it was on the Wilf’s stage back in 2009. Now, frontman Max Kerman, accounts the Arkells have officially graduated to the Athletic Complex—a huge accomplishment for the band.

I was able to catch a few moments with Kerman before heading out to perform at this year’s Orientation Week. Curious as to why the band chose to play at Laurier, I asked what draws the band to perform at universities. “Some of my favourite concerts ever were Frosh week concerts,” Kerman said.

“That’s where I met Mike and Nick in the band, so I’m pretty nostalgic for that. So, if we could be that band for somebody else, that’s amazing”.

Standing amongst the crowds, I could definitely understand the point Kerman was making. Students are a great source of hope and youthful energy, which is what the band feeds off of to play an exhilarating show.

Throughout the night, every student was on their feet, from standing, to jumping, to dancing.

Everyone was singing along to their hit song off the new album, Morning Report.

The band also played their favourite song, Drake’s Dad. Kerman told the story of how this song came to be, then broke out into their catchy new tune for students to sing along. Feeling the vibe of the crowd, Kerman decided to bring a frosh student onto the stage to help the band play their hit song, Private School.

Kerman explained that he feels he has a responsibility to pass on musical opportunities to others. Visiting Laurier a few years back, Kerman was originally turned away from using the equipment at the school to write a song. Then, a professor gave him a chance and he ended up writing one of the Arkells’ greatest hits.

Though the Arkells are gaining major traction in the media with their new album, they still look to other musical acts to be a source of inspiration.

When speaking with Kerman, he mentioned the respect he has for music from the likes of Bruce Springsteen to Chance the Rapper. During the show, he broke into one of Chance’s latest hits, Same Drugs, as the crowd sang along.

Kerman stressed how it’s important for his influencers to share the same values to tell stories of community, love and family, all of which are many themes found within the Arkells’ albums.

Playing for the Laurier students, I could feel Kerman’s values translate into the crowd. He emphasized the importance of how tough it can be growing up and how if he could go back and tell himself advice at 20-years-old, he would tell himself to be, “more patient, be patient with friends, yourself, [because] when you’re younger everything seems to be more of a hectic time, [so] when I look back it seems there was a lot of shit going on, [but] I think it’s the nature of growing up, so just know time has a way of smoothing things out.”

Having the Arkells was a great choice as the musical act at Laurier’s Orientation Week. Not only are they great role models, but they understand the crowd. The band knows how tough of a transition it can be for frosh.

Kerman’s connection to Laurier helped to relieve any bit of that pressure through music and by creating a fun and inclusive environment.

The Arkells had a surprise encore outside the John Aird Centre which was an unbelievable surprise for unsuspecting concert goers who were heading home. Kerman sang a Bruce Springsteen rendition.

Third-year Laurier student Cassy Lim recalls, “it was really cool, as a student, how the Arkells are personally connected to Laurier. Most bands wouldn’t take the time for an hour after their set is done and keep playing.”

This Arkells concert did not compare to any other. As an Arkells veteran, I have attended three Arkells shows but nothing compares to the crazy energy in that room and enormous amount of happiness felt amongst the Laurier students in the audience.

Congratulations on your graduation from Wilf’s to the Athletic Complex, Arkells. It was truly a party. Maybe next year we will get to see you play at your dream venue, Red Rock.

Keep on rocking and putting smiles on all our faces.

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