Arkells at Massey Hall – 04/11/16: Concert Review & Setlist

If you’re a fan of live music, concerts, or even having a good time – you’ve got to get to an Arkells show. Last night, I saw them for the 6th time, and it was easily as great or better than every other. Each show they bring you something unexpected, whether you’re a new fan or one of us who’s been around since Jackson Square days.

If you tell me there’s an Arkells show in Toronto, I’m there without a doubt. The fact that the show was also at Massey Hall was an added bonus. What a venue. I’ve heard great things but never actually been – I was legitimately blown away. The high ceilings, old walls, carpets & seats all added to the vibe. The historic nature of the building provided an incredible atmosphere that made for a special night. Take a look below.

Now, the performance. Frank Turner kicked the show off as the opening act – though my friend tells me that he’s a popular headlining act back home in London, England. He brought a ton of energy to the stage, including a trip throughout the lower bowl seating – high-fiving fans as he walked about. Arkells took the stage opening with A Little Rain – an unexpected choice for me as it doesn’t have the high tempo of  other openers like Michigan Left or Come to Light. In the first half of their set, they showcased the new album (titled Morning Report) pretty heavily and had us traditionalist fans longing for some of the old classics. They delivered in the latter half with some of the older hits and some unexpected choices like Agent Zero, which is a favourite of mine.

After leaving the stage briefly, lead singer Max appeared solo for the first song of the encore. Max and guitar started into Whistleblower, a track from the album Michigan Left. Max shared a hint about his views on the current US political situation as he added a verse about Donald Trump into the song. The encore lasted four songs, capped off with Arkells’ biggest hit, Leather Jacket.

All in all, I think the set was everything you would want it to be. They mixed new hits, old classics, and even a few songs they rarely play. Regardless of the song choices, the Hamilton, ON boys brought their trademark energy and enthusiasm to the performance, enough to make even the worst dancers (like me) attempt a jig or two. Check out last night’s setlist: (Checked for accuracy using

  1. A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)
  2. Come to Light
  3. Hung Up
  4. Savannah
  5. Passenger Seat
  6. Making Due
  7. Never Thought That This Would Happen
  8. 11:11
  9. My Heart’s Always Yours
  10. And Then Some
  11. Oh, The Boss Is Coming!
  12. Drake’s Dad
  13. Pullin’ Punches
  14. Round and Round
  15. Agent Zero
  16. On Paper
  17. Dirty Blonde
  18. Cynical Bastards
  19. Whistleblower
  20. Private School
  21. John Lennon
  22. Leather Jacket

Arkells are back for a second performance tonight, November 5th, 2016 at Massey Hall. They’re currently on tour promoting their newest album, and have various tour dates scheduled across North America. If you’re at all intrigued by what I have to say about the band, be sure to check out their tour schedule and get out to a show.

Thanks for reading!


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