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Photos and Review: Arkells at The Horseshoe

21-Dec-2008 09:00 pm Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
We Are The Take, Songs From A Room
Young Rival
The Horseshoe in Toronto, Ontario on December 16, 2008
Full Photo Set (32 photos)

I guess Dave Bookman from 102.1 decided to provide us a little holiday cheer this year by organizing a great line-up for the always free Tuesday Nu Music Nite at The Horseshoe. The night opened with Songs From A Room, a band I've been looking forward to seeing again, followed by Young Rival, then two of my favourite Canadian bands, the Arkells and We Are The Take.

Before I get to the bands, I just wanted to say there's a reason The Horseshoe is my favourite venue in Toronto. It's not because the place is nice, the lighting is good, or even that floor plan is well organized, because none of those are true. It's because The Horseshoe can somehow bring out the best in the bands that play there. It's probably a combination of things that include the history of the venue, the skill of the booking agent, the excellent wait-staff that work there, and on top of all that, a huge amount of credit should go to Adam Bell when he's at the soundboard. Prefect mixing and levels don't go without being noticed, and definitely adds to the good times. Can you already tell I enjoyed this night? Absolutely.


Going to see the Arkells at The Horseshoe again was like completing a circle for me, since that was where I first heard them back in March during Canadian Music Week (CMW). In between CMW and last Tuesday night, I've seen them an additional six times at a variety of locations, including The MOD Club, Tattoo Rock Parlour, Sound Academy (twice), Phoenix, and even Virgin Festival. I think it's fair to say that The Horseshoe and the Arkells go together like Red Bull and Vodka (or some other potent drink), because this was hands-down the best performance I've seen of theirs this year. The sound guy, Adam, was a big contributor, but it was also that the Arkells took advantage of the good sound and capacity-level crowd to really connect and create the right vibe. On top of that, the set list fell together perfectly and included crowd favourites like Tragic Flaw, Oh The Boss Is Coming!, and Deadlines all at just the right moment. In addition, they included The Choir this time around, which they also played when I saw them at the Phoenix; there's something seeing and hearing that song played live that opens it right up. Amazingly amazing. Can't wait to see what this band brings to 2009. Whatever they've got in store, count me in.

Arkells  Arkells  Arkells

Arkells  Arkells  Arkells

Info & Connect: Arkells on MySpace, Facebook
Media: Oh The Boss Is Coming! (video)

We Are The Take

After watching the Arkells completely kill it on stage, We Are The Take had a pretty big challenge: Follow a brilliant act and manage to keep the audience members in the venue for a late set even though it was a work night. They played it right, getting setup quickly and coming out strong, starting their set with one of my favourites, the easily likeable and very rocking song Dreams. Some of the charge from the Arkells' performance must have transferred to Craig Stickland (guitar, vocals) who performed the entire set with full force. The plan worked because The Horseshoe stayed fairly full, and people were still crowding the stage for the entire set. It's been a while since I've seen We Are The Take, and like many young bands there's been a slight change in the line-up, with Kevin Sommerville taking over on the drums. I hear they are planning on touring Ontario early next year, shortly after the release of their first EP which is due out early January. Probably their best performance to date, I'm hoping to see more sets like this next year.

We Are The Take  We Are The Take  We Are The Take

We Are The Take  We Are The Take

We Are The Take  We Are The Take  We Are The Take

Info & Connect: We Are The Take on MySpace, Facebook

Songs From A Room

Opening the night was Brayden Jones (vocals, guitar) and Songs From A Room, who have been out of the scene for the past 5 months due to Brayden being hit by a Sea-Doo during the summer, a fairly severe accident that put him completely off his feet for 6 weeks, followed with physiotherapy. In the meantime, though, the band has been working with Dine Alone Records and have released their first EP. I wasn't quite sure what to expect at The Horseshoe, but not even counting their time away, I was surprised how great their set was. Their style of screaming-loud hard rock sounded better than ever, partly due to the addition of a beautiful vintage KORG keyboard, but also just because their music has progressed and the band just sounded tighter. They administered a surprisingly good start to what turned out to be an incredible evening.

Songs From A Room  Songs From A Room  Songs From A Room

Songs From A Room  Songs From A Room

Info: Songs From A Room | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

Young Rival

Between Songs From A Room and Arkells was a band called Young Rival who, like the Arkells, call Hamilton their hometown.

Young Rival  Young Rival  Young Rival

Young Rival  Young Rival 

Info: Young Rival | Connect: MySpace, Facebook


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