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Arkells and Dear Rouge celebrated Whoop up Days with energetic pop

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Hamilton based pop/rock band Arkells brought the party to pop and rock night at Whoop Up Days, Friday, Aug. 23.The Arkells Max Kerman at Whoop Up Days, Aug. 23. Photo by Richard Amery

 But first, fellow Hamiltonites The Dirty Nil showed why you should never miss the opening act as quite a few people did, though there were quite a few Dirty Nils fans in the front row, wearing Nils merch and calling out requests for their favourites including Motel 8 from their most recent record Master Volume.

The Arkells’ max Kerman singing with the Dirty Nil. Photo by Richard Amery
The scrappy alternative  rock/ punk trio (guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham; drummer Kyle Fisher and bassist Ross Miller)  played an energetic set of loud, bass heavy original music from their four albums. They were a violent contrast to to keyboard powered pop of Dear Rouge and the Arkells more accessible alternative rock/ pop music.

Their bassist Ross Miller looked like a young Paul Simonon (bassist for the Clash).
 As a special surprise, Arkells frontman Max Kerman grinned as he joined the Dirty Nils on stage  to shout out background vocals on their song “Fucking Up Young.”

 They sounded like a more emo Big Star with a touch of Husker Dü. They played a catchy Big Star cover and played a hyperactive  set of jagged punk edged rock and roll with a lot of leaping around and Pete Townsend windmills.

 They had the audience properly warmed up for Dear Rouge who insisted the exuberant audience party with them.

 The last time I saw  Dear Rouge was at the Gate Church in 2015, though they played Rail Jam at the university in 2016. The husband and wife  duo of Danielle and  Drew McTaggart added a drummer and a keyboardist/ bassist to amp up they synth driven, toe tapping pop stylings.

Danielle McTaggart strutted around the stage in a glittering turquoise shorts and shirt, belting out lyrics and pounding at her keyboards shouting at the creaming crown “Are you ready to dance?”Dear Rouge’s Danielle McTaggart at Whoop Up Days. Photo by Richard Amery

They played several familiar hits and added an LCD Sound System cover of “North American Skyline.”
 They have improved a lot, found their groove and looked really at home on a big stage.

 The Arkells were ready to party in to the night, opening their energetic set with  their latest hit “Hand Me Down.”
“Frontman Max Kerman shouted it had been 10 years since they were last in Lethbridge and were glad to be back.
 A horn section joined them in the second song, a love song,  and were an upbeat  brass fuelled highlight of the show especially on hits like “Knocking At Your Door.”

The Dirty Nil’s drummer Kyle Fisher and bassist Ross Miller. Photo by Richard Amery
They played a lot from their latest CD “Rally Cry,” but also played all of their hits, which had  the audience singing along. “Saturday Night” and “People’s Champ” were a highlight of these.

Midway through their set, Max Kerman opened up the gates and invited everyone  to come and join the party in the  premium section. He jumped into the middle of them and sang with them shortly after.

 They played an upbeat set of catchy guitar driven power pop and alternative rock anthems chock full of good vibes and lots of energy that reminded me a lot of the Trews.

 They ended their set officially with “Private School,” and were called back for an encore.

— by Richard Amery L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 August 2019 11:35 )  
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