There were only a few empty seats at Prospera Place last night, but each of them represented someone who missed out on an incredible night.
In town for the first time since they played Keloha in 2013, Arkells delivered the type of dance-around, sing-a-long performance they’ve become known for.
It was two hours of music that showed why the five-piece band from Hamilton, Ont. is considered one of the best live acts in the business.
After kicking off the set with their hit single Relentless, off their latest album ‘Rally Cry’, they followed it up with another pair of hit singles from earlier albums, Leather Jacket and Michigan Left.
Frontman Max Kerman then slowed things down to tell the crowd about the rules of any Arkells show, which are singing, dancing and looking out for each other.
Since the show was on a Tuesday night, one more rule was added to the mix.
The crowd had to pretend it was a Saturday and those in attendance certainly partied like it was the weekend.
At one point during the show, Kerman even jumped into the crowd and handed out doctor’s notes signed by "Dr. Arkells" for those who had to be at work in the morning.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t the only time Kerman got a fan involved, as he also invited a super fan Achilles Concepcion on stage to dance with him during Only For A Moment and Concepcion didn’t disappoint.
Dressed like the Arkells’ frontman in a rainbow-tassel jacket, Concepcion danced and spun around the stage, sending the crowd into a frenzy before sharing a hug with Kerman and returning to the audience.
Then, towards the end of their set, the band did something they often do and asked if anyone on stage wanted to join them to play guitar during the song Private School.
There was no shortage of takers, but Kerman ultimately selected Jenna Johnson, a member of the local band BL00M, to join the guys on stage.
After a quick run down from guitarist Mike DeAngelis, Johnson was playing along, moving up and down the stage with Kerman and DeAngelis like she’d been on the Rally Cry tour all along.
She even made the most of her moment in the Prospera Place spotlight by going for a lengthy crowd surf as Arkells ended their set with their latest single, Hand Me Downs.
The tone was set early with a trio of their biggest singles, but there was no come down as the band made its way through the 22-song setlist.
With five albums under their belt, they managed to provide fans with a nice mix of tunes from each record, a setlist of songs ranging a dozen years that flowed like it was a carefully thought out album.
After they left the stage, the crowd refused to leave and the band came out for one last two-song hurrah.
The encore started with a cover of ABBA’s Dancing Queen, giving the crowd one last chance to dance, and ended with My Heart’s Always Yours as the crowd swayed and sung along.
It was one of those nights you wish didn’t have to end, but it wasn’t just Arkells that made it so memorable.
The night kicked off with a set from Lord Huron, who were making their first trip to the Okanagan.
Plenty of fans made sure they were there early to see the California-based band and they didn’t disappoint.
Frontman Ben Schneider showed off his impressive vocals as the band effortlessly moved between slow jams and more up tempo songs that had the early birds in the crowd dancing along.
Some of the early crowd was likely there to cement a good floor spot for Arkells, but Lord Huron certainly won them over and gained a few new fans on Tuesday night.
We can only hope that both bands make their way back to the Okanagan soon. Kelowna doesn’t get enough world-class shows like that.
To see a full photo album from Tuesday night's show, click this link.