Arkells return for a show to remember

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This past weekend marked Wilfrid Laurier University’s 100th annual homecoming celebration. This year, like many before it, was characterized by three things: drinking, football and great music.

Thursday’s homecoming concert was headlined by Waterloo regulars, Arkells, who certainly did not disappoint.

Opening for the Juno Award winning Arkells was local band Pilot Project. The largely unknown band impressed the Turret crowd with invigorating bass licks, strong guitar and tough vocals. They ended their set of original material by getting the entire crowd pumped up with an impressive rendition of Foo Fighter’s “Walk.”

Following Pilot Project was 2009 A-Team’s Last Band Standing winners, The Dirty Nil. The band delivered an electrifying performance, complete with raw vocals, skilled guitar riffs and flawless drumming.

In addition to their catalogue of original material, the band covered Weezer and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”

The Dirty Nil left everything on the stage, both metaphorically and literally. Front-man Luke Bentham was so immersed in the performance he accidentally ripped his jeans and threw the remnants into the crowd, playing the rest of the set in his underwear. Sweaty and half naked, they left the crowd satisfied and ready for the headlining performance.

Finally, to the sound of the packed crowd chanting their name, Arkells took the stage. “[The] Dirty Nil are good friends of ours, we’ve played with them a couple times and they really know how to put on a show,” said Max Kerman, front-man of Arkells, about the opening act. The band opened their set with the song “Deadlines” from their album Jackson Square.

Arkells immediately had the crowd involved and moving. Playing a number of tracks from Jackson Square as well as songs off their upcoming album Michigan Lake, Arkells rocked the Turret and had their audience singing along to every song.

Kerman reminisced about their dinner at Ethel’s Lounge in Waterloo’s Uptown and serenaded the crowd with an acoustic rap of Kanye West’s “Homecoming” as a tribute to the centennial weekend.

After their electrifying and invigorating set, the crowd was unwilling to let the band finish without an encore.

For their closing number, Arkells performed their hit “Oh, The Boss is Coming.”

At this point, the entire Turret became a sea of clapping hands and everyone was singing along —even the bartenders.

The experience was made all the more memorable by the beaming smiles that the entire band had on for the entire show.

They walked around on stage making jokes with each other (or in keyboard player Dan Griffin’s case, sporting some awesome dance moves).

“The last time we played at Laurier we were at Wilf’s. It’s a great venue and Laurier really knows how to have a good time,” said Kerman. It was clear that the men of the Arkells genuinely enjoyed performing just as much as the Laurier crowd enjoyed their performance.


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