Canadian Music Corner: Arkells & D.O.A.

Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω

Increasingly, it’s unjust to classify the Hamilton, Ont. based Arkells as a small Canadian band. Over the past few years the group has played on damn near every university or college campus in Canada – several times. As of late, the quintet is touring with The Tragically Hip and made a stop in Kamloops on Jan. 20. To label Arkells as a small Canadian rock ‘n’ roll outfit just doesn’t seem to fit the bill; perhaps the next Hip might be more sufficient.

To achieve such legendary status, Arkells still have lots of room to grow considering the Hip has 10 full-length albums and 20-plus years of hustling on them.

Arkells first effort, Jackson Square, starts out swinging with “Deadlines,” but balances out for a complete listening experience yielding a diversity of sounds falling under a recognizable unity.

Exploring new sounds with the 2011 sophomore album, Michigan Left, the band added a generous heaping of catchy guitar hooks. While the sounds of both albums are branded with a signature Arkells stamp, Jackson Square leans more towards the steel-town rock ‘n’ roll you would expect to come out of an industrial hub like Hamilton.

Arkells know how to treat fans right, exemplified by consistently energetic live performances and facilitating an on-stage wedding proposal to “Abigail,” the couple’s favourite song.

If they roll through town again soon, cross your fingers, or better yet, tweet at them to request their dancing shoes-worthy cover of Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams.”

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

D.O.A. may be the most important punk band in Canada. Before the bubble gum flavoured dreck of Simple Plan, Avril Lavigne and the likes, all the real punk rockers jammed D.O.A. into their Walkman.

The Vancouver-based group has been around since the late-1970s and while there have been numerous line-up changes, the group has worked continuously with Joey Keithley at the centre except for a short period during the early-1990s. The group has been so influential in Vancouver that the mayor decided to have a day in 2003 for D.O.A.’s 25th anniversary.

Now D.O.A. may be saying farewell again, currently embarking on another final tour. This is partly due to Keithley’s interest in pursuing a position in politics instead of just talking about it. D.O.A. will be swinging through Kamloops at Bailey’s Pub on Feb. 15.

For a sample of classic punk rock check out “I AM Canadian” from the 2002 release Win the Battle.

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