Marquee Memories: Arkells

2023 was big for Arkells. Not only did they tour heavily and release their latest album, Laundry Pile, they also made history by winning the Juno Award for Group of the Year for the sixth time…and they’re nominated again in 2024. That success in part comes from an eclectic set of influences they’ve never shied away from discussing, listing the likes of Adele and Fatboy Slim alongside some of the Motown greats. So we sat down with lead singer Max Kerman to talk about some of his favorite concert memories and unsurprisingly his answers cover a lot of ground: Bruno Mars to Beyoncé to The Boss himself. Take a look:
Marquee Memories: Arkells

Bruno Mars

“It would've been 5, 6, 7 years ago in Toronto, Scotiabank Arena. I always liked Bruno Mars, but then that night I fell in love with Bruno Mars. Even though he's a pop star, he's so much more than that. You know, he's an incredible musician. He can play every instrument. But the thing that I loved especially is that unlike most pop stars who really kind of go out of their way to be the center of attention, and often their backup band is sort of in the shadows, he rolls with the crew, he rolls with the hooligans, and wherever he went, they went. They were able to sort of perfectly execute this sort of drunken swagger the entire night, but on a dime, they'd all hit their marks perfectly. From that moment on, I was like, ‘I need my hooligans.’ And we tour with a unit called the Northern Soul Horns. And during our shows, I'm like, ‘Guys, just come with me,’ and then we'll go out in the crowd and we'll have some fun. And that's very much inspired by Bruno.”

Beyoncé

“The most recent time I saw Beyoncé was on this latest tour in Toronto at Rogers Centre. She's able to be so many things at once in a show, the warmth she exudes, but she's also so fiery. But my favorite part of the set was when she was doing ‘Love on Top,’ and she basically, the band stops, she just holds up the microphone and the audience, there's like 50,000 people there, start doing the key changes. And so it was crazy that 50,000 people actually executed the key change. And a kid in our section knew every word to every song, and he knew every dance move. And I was like, ‘This might be more entertaining than Beyoncé herself.’ I was like, ‘Oh, that's a dedicated fan base.’”

Bruce Springsteen

“I think it's 2012. It's Toronto, it's Rogers Centre. And I went with a group of Springsteen diehards, and I'd always been a Springsteen fan. But then that night I fully understood why they were so obsessed. Springsteen comes out and he opened with a song that I didn't think I cared that much about, ‘Working on the Highway.’ By the end of the song, I was like, ‘This might be my favorite Springsteen song of all time.’ You make a different connection with a listener when you play the song live, and that's why it's important to play the songs live. And then throughout the show, he just kept on pulling tricks out of his hat. Somebody has a sign, a deep cut, they want to hear. During the end of one song, he'd grab the sign, show it to his 14 piece band, and then on a dime, ‘1, 2, 3, 4,’ they'd launch right into that song. At one point he pulls up a lady whose husband had a sign saying, ‘It's our 35th year anniversary. Can you dance with my wife?’ And he brought her up for ‘Dancing in the Dark.’ It's spontaneous. He's reacting to the people in the crowd. He's trying to make it memorable for everybody. You know, he's the boss for a reason, and that night he proved it over and over again.”
Catch them live at the Budweiser Doubleheader Weekend in Toronto this summer. Details here.

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Last updated: 17 Apr 2024, 21:07 Etc/UTC