TORONTO (WIVB) — Buffalo loves the Arkells, and the Arkells love Buffalo.
Ever since they arrived more than a decade ago, the Canadian rockers keep on coming back, and the number of venues they pack continues to expand.
Next Saturday, August 12, the Arkells have their biggest Buffalo show as a headliner yet when they take the stage at the Outer Harbor with special guest K.Flay.
Believe it or not, the band almost didn’t make it to their first show here after crossing the border took a bit longer than expected.
It was about 2010 or 2011. Singer Max Kerman says the band was on tour and they were the first of three on a bill at the Town Ballroom. Luckily for them, the promoter behind the show was an Arkells fan, so he pulled some strings to make it work.
“He said to the second band, ‘You have to go on first, because Arkells are gonna play this show,'” Kerman said. “So, go on now, give them a chance to get here, and then they’ll play after you.'”
That generous act by the promoter and the other band was a hallmark of the kind of love the Arkells would find in the City of Good Neighbors.
Since then, they’ve played here more than you can count on one hand. The list of venues also includes Artpark, Canalside and the KeyBank Center. Both as headliners and openers for names like The Tragically Hip and The Who, Kerman says Buffalo’s a good place to be.
“We’ve played lots of shows and they’re always great because I feel like people from Buffalo are like, honorary Canadians,” Kerman says. “So, there’s a connection to Canadian music, especially. We feel right at home.”
With all these Queen City shows under their belt, the Town Ballroom, a place they sold out three nights in a row last year, is their favorite venue. In fact, as far as Kerman is concerned, it’s the best club in North America.
“There’s not a bad sightline in the entire venue,” he says.
Coming out of the pandemic, Kerman says the band was “chomping at the bit to do something special and do something different.”
Knowing they’d get some people returning for more than one show in the three-night stop, the Arkells made sure to switch up the setlist for each gig. That included a different cover for each show — one night was Rick James, the next was the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and the third night, at the request of a friend, was Huey Lewis & the News’ “The Power of Love.”
With a new album, Laundry Pile, due out September 21st, the band has dropped a couple of singles — one bearing the album’s title and another called “Skin.”
In Kerman’s eyes, the new album was kind of an accident, but in a good way. When the five of them got together to jam and mess around this past January, things just kind of happened naturally. After a few months, they all of a sudden had a new record.
Largely self-produced, Kerman says Laundry Pile “feels like one of the rawest, most authentic things we’ve done.”
“For this record, we wanted to kind of really just make it feel like a band playing together, kind of harken back to our earlier records,” he says.
Laundry Pile has less modern programming and flourishes than previous releases, Kerman says, with a lot of demo tracks and first takes ending up in the final product.
“The record is decidedly more stripped back,” Kerman says. “It’s a bit more of an introspective singer-songwriter record. We’ve, I think, been really adventurous with the production style of our music over the years, and I love kind of dipping into different genres.”
Kerman’s looking forward to bringing that new music to Buffalo next week. A lover of the city’s nightlife, he says a favorite tradition of the band is going to Frizzy’s in Allentown and ordering a “box of rocks” — essentially, that’s a box of Rolling Rock stubbies with a bunch of ice shoveled on top. (Unfortunate side note: Frizzy’s no longer offers the “box of rocks.”)
After their Saturday night show at the Outer Harbor, the party’s going to continue at – you guessed it – Town Ballroom. Kerman tells me it’ll feature a mystery cover band with some familiar faces.
And if you want to know why that band’s called Disco Loadout, the band explained it in their Thursday morning announcement.
VIP tickets for the Arkells’ Outer Harbor show are sold out, but general admission is still available here. If you’re planning to help keep the party going afterward, you can get your Town Ballroom tickets at this link.
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