Monday, July 13, 2015
ARKELLS-OTTAWA BLUESFEST JULY 12TH
Straight ahead rock solid set from the pride of Hamilton (after Marty Short, of course). Fresh from playing at the Calgary Stampede, the quintet took the red eye into the nation's capital and showed no signs of sleep deprivation, lighting up the Canadian stage as the sun faded into the west.
Frontman Max Kerman worked hard to engage the crowd from the moment that they tore into the opener, "Come to Light". Over the course of three albums the band has delivered thoughtful, energetic and catchy rock songs that have been honed to perfection on stage. These guys are on tour in perpetuity and it shows as they ramped up the intensity over their 1.5 hour showcase. All of their singles (except "Ticats are Hummin'") were featured, with "John Lennon" and "Pullin' Punches" ending up as particular highlights. The unsung hero of this aggregate is drummer Tim Oxford, who could have stood in for an atomic clock as he expertly steered the group through razor sharp arrangements. His precision assaults on the kit kept people a least a foot off the ground throughout.
What complimented their hooks, harmonies and great ensemble playing?
Pristine sound out front.
"11:11" provided the soundtrack to a marriage proposal earlier in the day, with the happy couple invited to watch the gig from the side of the stage.
Kerman asked the audience not to clap but snap along at one point. They complied and it was surreal.
Jerry Lee Lewis moment for keyboardist Anthony Crane as he pounded the 88s like a man possessed during a solo.
Moving over to the Bell Centre stage just as they kicked into a two song encore, it was a pleasure to witness such an exciting, five star performance from a band whose star is definitely on the rise. If you have a chance, get out and catch them.
Come to Light
Ballad of Hugo Chavez
Never Thought That This Would Happen
Oh, the Boss Is Coming!
Where U Goin