Arkells play private show for residence students

Hamilton-based rock band Arkells have played at several Canadian university campuses over the years, but they can now add a Carleton University residence lounge to their list of campus venues.

The band played a private, unplugged show in the Raven’s Roost residence lounge for Carleton University residence students on Feb. 13. The show was a collaboration between the Arkells and Carleton’s Student Experience Office (SEO).

The band put on a short acoustic performance for around 50 students, taking song requests and pausing in between songs to chat with the audience.

Near the end of the show, the band moved to the centre of the room and asked students to pull their seats in close around the group while they played an acoustic rendition of “Leather Jacket.”

In an interview, Arkells lead-singer Max Kerman said the band put on a similar close-up performance for students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) earlier this year.

“We had such a good time and thought we should do some more of that stuff,” Kerman said. “We really enjoy it, we love being on campuses, and there’s always a really positive, hopeful spirit on campuses.”

Kerman said the Raven’s Roost was exactly the type of room where the band started, providing a good way to engage for a close-up experience with students living in residence.

“This is literally the type of room where we first jammed at McMaster,” he said.  “We knew the camaraderie that a [residence] floor has. It’s just a nice group activity.”

Students at  UBC took part in a contest to get the Arkells to play a private show on campus, based on the number of tickets purchased by competing teams.

Jeremy Brzozowski, manager of student life at SEO, said the Carleton contest was a little different.

The scope of our contest was to do something good for the community,” Brzozowski said.

“The contest focused on engaging the residence community to participate in a food drive to support the CUSA [Carleton University Students’ Association] food centre,” he said.

The entire fourth floor of Stormont was invited to the show for contributing the largest amount of food donations, according to Brzozowski. About 1,000 items were donated to the CUSA Food Centre in total, he said.

“This idea was generated through conversation with the band and their management and ultimately how we could make the contest our own,” Brzozowski said. “The band is very civically minded, so this idea just really naturally came together.  Being able to support our students with donations to the food bank was certainly a bonus.”

Sarah Travis, a first-year English student who attended the performance, said her residence fellow posted in the floor Facebook group about the contest.

Travis said she is an Arkells fan, and she enjoyed the performance.

“I know a lot of kids on our floor said they didn’t really know who they were,” Travis said. “But everyone was pretty excited about it. I think it was just the fact that a big band was coming.”

After the Carleton performance, the band performed a show with Frank Turner at the TD Place Arena for around 3,000 people on Monday night.

The Arkells also performed at the University of Ottawa (U of O) campus in September.

When asked if he preferred playing Carleton to the U of O, Kerman said he had “no comment.” 

You can watch the Arkells’ performance here

– Photo by Trevor Swann