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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Arkells Concert Review

On​ ​Nov. ​26,​ ​the​ ​Arkells​ ​didn’t​ ​just​ ​have​ ​a​ ​show​ ​at​ ​The​ ​Sinclair​ ​in​ ​Cambridge—​they had​ ​a​ party.
The​ ​Canadian​ ​rock​ ​band​ ​brought​ ​as​ ​much​ ​energy​ ​that​ ​could​ ​fit​ ​into​ ​a​ ​Thursday​ ​night show​ ​and​ ​then​ ​some!​ ​Their​ ​Bruce​ ​Springsteen​-​inspired​ ​anthemic​ ​rock​ ​was​ ​performed​ ​with​ ​an energy​ ​that​ ​could​ ​even​ ​rival​ ​The​ ​Boss​ ​himself. 
When​ ​the​ ​band​ ​stepped​ ​on​ ​stage​ ​and​ ​opened​ ​the​ ​show​ ​with​ ​a​ ​harmonized​ ​and​ ​raw​ ​sixty seconds​ ​of​ ​the​ ​famed​ ​hymn​ ​“Amazing​ ​Grace,”​ ​I​ ​knew​ ​right​ ​away​ ​I​ ​was​ ​in​ ​for​ ​an​ ​interesting concert.​ ​The​ ​Arkells​ ​don’t​ ​play​ ​by​ ​the​ ​rules,​ ​and​ ​whenever​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​chance​ ​to​ ​add​ ​their​ ​own spin​ ​to​ ​to​ ​their​ ​live​ ​show​ ​they​ ​jump​ ​on​ ​it.​ ​There​ ​was​ ​a​ ​moment​ ​when​ ​they​ ​asked​ ​the​ ​audience​ ​if anyone​ who ​knew​ ​how​ ​to​ ​play​ ​guitar​ ​would​ ​be​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​popping​ ​onstage​ ​for​ ​an​ ​impromptu guitar​ ​lead​ ​in​ ​their​ ​punk,​ ​tough,​ ​and​ ​riffy​ ​“Private​ ​School.”​ ​They​ ​certainly​​ ​had​ ​plenty of​ ​volunteers, but​ ​upon​ ​taking​ ​this​ ​risk,​ ​they​ ​realized​ ​they​ ​had​ ​pulled​ ​someone​ ​on​ ​stage​ ​who had​ ​no​ ​idea​ ​how​ ​to​ ​play​ ​the​ ​instrument.​ ​This​ ​didn’t​ ​stop​ ​the​m,​ ​however,​ ​and,​ ​if​ ​anything,​ ​it added​ ​more​ ​enjoyment​ ​to​ ​the​ ​show.​ ​The​ ​band​ ​and​ ​audience​ ​alike​ ​laughed​ ​​and​ ​kept​ ​the energy​ ​high​ ​during​ ​the​ ​track,​ ​while​ ​the​ ​ham​ ​pseudo-guitarist​ ​gave​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​he​ ​could give​, which​ ​wasn’t​ ​a​ ​lot.​ ​In​ ​that​ ​moment​ ​it​ ​was​ ​clear​ ​the​ ​band​ ​was​ ​there​ ​to​ ​have​ ​just​ ​as​ ​much fun​ ​as​ ​concert-goers​ ​were.​ ​They​ ​were​ ​delighted​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​moment​ ​to​ ​laugh​ ​and​ ​stay loose. 
Only​ ​two​ ​songs​ ​later,​ ​lead​ ​singer ​Max​ ​Kerman​ ​hopped​ ​off​ ​the​ ​stage​, ​right​ ​into​ ​the​ ​middle​ ​of​ ​the​ ​crowd​ ​to​ ​sing​ ​the​ ​track​ ​“Drake’s​ ​Dad.”​ ​​It​ ​isn’t​ ​out​ ​of the​ ​norm​ ​for​ ​band​ ​members​ ​to​ ​interact​ ​with​ ​the​ ​crowd​ ​by​ ​jumping​ ​to​ ​the​ ​barricade​ ​at​ ​the​ ​front,​ ​or, less​ ​often,​ ​by​ ​crowd​ ​surfing​ ​or​ ​braving​ ​the​ ​crowds​ ​to​ ​step​ ​in​ ​a​ ​few​ ​feet.​ ​However, Kerman​ ​trusted​ ​his​ ​audience​ ​not​ ​to​ ​get​ ​too​ ​rowdy​ ​and​ ​it​ ​paid​ ​off​—we​ ​were​ ​all able​ ​to​ ​witness​ ​and​ ​be​ ​involved​ ​in, ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​live​ ​performances​ ​of​ ​any​ ​song​ ​I’ve​ ​ever had​ ​the​ ​pleasure​ ​of​ ​seeing.​ ​
Kerman​ ​was​ ​only​ ​a​ ​head​ ​above​ ​all​ ​of​ ​us,​ ​spinning​ ​in​ ​a​ ​slow​ ​circle​ ​to meet​ ​as​ ​many​ ​eyes​ ​as​ ​he​ ​could,​ ​crooning​ ​the​ ​line​ ​“let​ ​me​ ​be​ ​in​ ​your​ ​arms​ ​again.”​ ​With​ ​only​ ​the spotlight​ shining​ ​on​ ​him​ ​that​ ​far​ ​away​ ​from​ ​the​ ​stage,​ ​it​ ​felt​ ​as​ ​though​ ​we weren’t​ ​at​ ​a​ ​concert​ ​at​ ​all—maybe​ ​at​ ​a​ ​laid​ ​back​ ​party​ ​or​ ​outside​ ​around​ ​a​ ​fire,​ ​listening​ ​to​ ​our particularly​ ​talented​ ​friend.​ ​
This​ ​feeling​ ​was​ ​only​ ​heightened​ ​when​ ​Kerman​ ​paused​ ​to describe​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​moment​ ​involving​ ​their​ ​most​ ​romantic​ ​track,​ ​“And​ ​Then​ ​Some.”​ ​Kerman talked​ ​about​ ​his​ ​friends’​ ​tradition​ ​of​ ​having​ ​a​ ​Christmas​ ​party,​ ​and​ ​on​ ​one​ ​of​ ​these​ ​particular annual​ ​gatherings​ ​Kerman​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​get​ ​back​ ​together​ ​with​ ​his​ ​then​ ​ex​, but​ ​now present,​ ​girlfriend.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​magical​ ​night​ ​already,​ ​but​ ​then​ ​the​ ​power​ ​went​ ​out.​ ​With​ ​just​ ​an acoustic​ ​guitar,​ ​his​ ​friends​ ​begged​ ​him​ ​to​ ​perform​ ​a​ ​song​ ​or​ ​two.​ ​In​ ​that​ ​moment​ ​he​ ​decided​ ​to play​ ​“And​ ​Then​ ​Some”​ ​to​ ​all​ ​his​ ​friends​ ​and​ ​reunited​ ​love,​ ​intimately​ ​singing​ ​to​ ​all​ ​of​ ​them​ ​“I​ ​love every​ ​inch​ ​of​ ​you​ ​and​ ​then​ ​some.”​ ​As​ ​special​ ​as​ ​that​ ​sounds,​ ​the​ ​Arkells​ ​have​ ​such​ ​a​ ​quality​ ​to them​ ​that​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​I​ ​missed​ ​out​ ​on​ ​much; ​I​ ​think​ ​their​ ​shows​ ​are​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​just​ ​as​ ​much intimacy​ ​and​ as many ​raw​ ​moments​ ​as​ ​can​ ​be​ ​found​ ​in​ ​a​ ​house​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​a​ ​small​ ​group​ ​of​ ​friends. 
Don’t​ ​let​ ​that​ ​fool​ ​you,​ ​the​ ​Arkells​ ​go​ ​hard​ ​and​ ​they​ ​have​ fun.​ ​The​ ​Sinclair​ ​became​ ​so loud​ ​with​ ​fan​ ​favorite​ ​and​ ​hit​ ​song​ ​“Leather​ ​Jacket”​ ​that​ ​it​ ​made​ ​the​ ​floor​ ​vibrate​ ​beneath​ our ​feet. Then the​ ​Arkells​ ​called​ ​Irontom, the opening act,​ ​back​ ​on​ ​stage​ ​to​ ​perform​ ​a​ ​riotous​ ​and​ ​hard​ ​hitting​ ​“Sabotage”​ ​Beastie​ ​Boys​ ​cover.​ ​There was​ lots ​of​ ​jumping​ ​and​ lots of​ ​yelling,​ ​but​ ​even​ ​more​ ​smiles. 
The​ ​Arkells​ ​are​ ​a​ ​feel​ ​good​ ​band​ ​with​ ​an​ ​old​ ​school​ ​sound​ ​that​ ​put​ ​on​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best live​ ​shows​ ​you’ll​ ​ever​ ​see.​ ​Their​ ​songs​ ​are​ ​about​ ​being​ ​in​ ​love,​ ​having​ ​good​ ​friends,​ ​and​ ​the occasional​ ​call​ ​for political​ ​action​ ​and​ ​justice.​ ​Give​ ​this​ ​band​ ​a​ ​listen,. There’s​ ​nothing​ ​not​ ​to​ ​like.