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Arkells, The Waking Eyes @ The Horseshoe (Photos and Review)

12-Feb-2009 07:00 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Arkells
Arkells, The Waking Eyes
We Are The Take
The Horseshoe in Toronto, Ontario on February 6, 2009
Full Photo Set (29 photos)

Just to give you an idea of what kind of night it was at The Horseshoe last Friday: At the beginning of the night I asked two guys near the stage who they were there to see, and they responded with "Well, all of the bands". That's what you get when you put the Arkells together with The Waking Eyes for a rock and roll double-header, and then add We Are The Take to open the show.

Arkells

It's happening. Anyone in Southern Ontario who has ever become a fan of the Arkells knew it would happen, eventually. The Arkells have grown up, and now they're leaving us (even if only temporarily). Although I've never seen them in their home town of Hamilton, in Toronto we've seen them open for other bands at Phoenix and Sound Academy. We've seen them play shows with only a small crowd present... small enough that we were all on stage with them. But now they've released a brilliant debut album called, Jackson Square, and the number of fans has grown in a huge way. So those days are gone, and I fully expect to see Arkells headlining at some of the venues were we saw them open at last year, deservedly so.

The show last Friday was similar to the incredible show they put on last December that put them in spot #3 of my Top 10 Shows of 2008. They played with the same insane amount of energy, so much so that Max Kerman's (vocals, guitar) fingers were bleeding, presumably from a high-impact guitar strumming error, and that sweat flew from their faces as they sang Oh The Boss Is Coming!. The Horseshoe was completely sold-out, which meant more than 500 attendees were packed in there, with the fans pushed up at the stage singing along to many of the songs. The songs themselves are never replicas of the recorded material... instead they change it up, adjusting songs to increase the interest level, even if you've listened to the songs over and over at home. They also had a couple of surprises for us this time, including bringing out Jeremy Taggart (of Our Lady Peace) to play along with Tim Oxford (drums) for one very cool synchronized drum-beat filled song. The other surprise was inviting the members from the other two bands on for the last song of the encore to help them belt out the Beatles' Don't Let Me Down.

So there they go, out on their own, driving across Canada with The Waking Eyes, taking their unbelievably excellent stage show to fans across the country for the rest of February and part of March. Their shows pretty much define the reason for seeing bands in concert, so be sure check the scheduled dates on MySpace, and when they hit your town get out to see them. Seriously. Because the next time it likely won't be as intimate.

Arkells  Arkells

Arkells  Arkells  Arkells

Arkells  Arkells

Arkells  Arkells  Arkells

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

The Waking Eyes

Quite a few people have told me that The Waking Eyes are "a live band" in the sense that you really have to see them perform to fully experience their music. I knew if that was true, they would be an excellent pairing for the Arkells... and true it was. A few of the band members switch around between guitar and keyboards, and the way they play their music on stage means it just comes out stronger than can be heard on their great album, Holding On To Whatever It Is. The song Keeps Me Coming Back is incredibly powerful on the album, but in a live scenario it is even better than I imagined. Really great song, and definitely a great performance. They closed with their current radio hit All Empires Fall, which also sounded better live.

The Waking Eyes also played this Tuesday night at Sneaky Dee's, billed as The Surfwax Americans, and covered the entire blue album by Weezer. Great album, good players... I would've loved to have been there to see that!

The Waking Eyes  The Waking Eyes 

The Waking Eyes  The Waking Eyes  The Waking Eyes

The Waking Eyes  The Waking Eyes

Info: The Waking Eyes | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: All Empires Fall (mp3, video)

We Are The Take

Hanging out with the Arkells isn't hurting We Are The Take even a little. In fact, they've clearly been paying attention when the Arkells are on stage and are feeding off the performances, resulting in higher energy shows of their own, with better showmanship and playing their songs bigger and tighter. It's pretty satisfying to get to see this band progress from when I first saw them in 2007. And now with some of their material recorded and available on a new EP (buy it at the merch table, it's well worth the 5 bucks), they are honing their stage skills and pretty much killing it. Even the song that caught my interest first time around, Dreams, has progressed into a better-than-the-original version. The next (and last show) they play with the Arkells and The Waking Eyes is February 12th in Peterborough.

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
Media: Dreams (mp3)

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