Since they last played in Kelowna in 2013, Arkells have released three albums and become one of the most recognizable Canadian bands out there.
They’ve added to their collection of Juno Awards, headlined a number of festivals, had their music used in NHL playoff montages and even had a song featured in the Super Bowl 52 broadcast.
Despite the success, the band’s frontman, Max Kerman, says the last five years haven’t felt a whole lot different than the previous five.
“I think for us, all the growth has been really incremental over the years,” Kerman told NowMedia.
“You can usually track the nature of the shows and how they grow...I love that, it's actually really gratifying work, because it's all about just putting in the work.”
Kerman says the band just keeps their heads down and continues to work, relying on a mix of studio time, touring and other ventures to keep things fresh and exciting.
One day you might find Arkells in the studio, the next day they could be playing a stadium show in a major U.S. city and the following day they’ll be doing a pop-up set for a handful of lucky fans in the park.
That’s the process that helped the band make their latest album, Rally Cry, which was released on Oct. 19, 2018.
“We toured and then we booked maybe five days in the studio, banged out a couple of songs, hit the road again, the variety of all of that is really appealing,” Kerman explained.
“I think it's our punchiest record. It's 10 songs, each song you kind of understand what it is really quickly and that was very intentional in the studio. We didn't want to meander about when it came to the production or the arrangement of the songs.”
With their punchiest album yet comes their punchiest tour yet, as the band will be bringing along the Northern Soul Horns, a fantastic horn section from Toronto.
Their presence allows Kerman to ditch his guitar for certain songs and “just be more of a dance instructor on stage.”
“That makes the show that much more fun for me,” he said. “I get to sort of be my own version of James Brown or Bruce Springsteen.”
Along with the horns, Kerman says the production meetings for the tour have begun and they’re going to have a cat walk, a great set list and tons of exciting moments for the fans.
“Our shows have always been a really communal thing, that’s the thread between all the records,” Kerman told NowMedia.
“The songs are meant to be sung together, really positive, outward looking music, so this is probably just a bigger version of what we used to do.”
Unsurprisingly, the set list on Feb. 5 will be much different than the one they played last in Kelowna six years ago, but that’s far from a bad thing.
Kerman says it’ll give the fans a chance to build a relationship with the band’s newer tunes that they might not have seen live yet, an experience you can’t get by simply listening to the record.
While the band isn’t looking too much into their past, they still try to include songs from every record on the set list and that won’t change for this tour.
As for the opening act, Arkells will be bringing along Lord Huron, a band that they “really love,” but have also never met.
Kerman says they wanted the bill for this tour to be world class and they believe they’ve accomplished just that by choosing Lord Huron as their support.
“They play Red Rocks in the U.S., sell out massive shows themselves and have hundreds of millions of streams for their song that was in 13 Reasons Why,” he said.
“They’re not necessarily a household name, but if you go through their Spotify, you’re like ‘oh, I know this song, oh, I know this song.’ So we’re really proud of the bill and we can’t wait to see them play every night.”
That means you’ll want to make sure you’re inside Prospera Place for both bands when the Rally Cry Tour rolls through the Okanagan on Feb. 5, 2019.
Despite the show being on a Tuesday, Kerman promises it’s going to feel like a Saturday night and expects people from all over the B.C. Interior to roll into town for the party.
“Nobody’s going to work on Wednesday, so just book it off,” he advised. “We’re going hard on a Tuesday night!”
Tickets are still available, but they’re sure to go fast, so make sure you grab them through Select Your Tickets.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of Getty Images.