Max Kerman, Arkells lead singer, on USC’s Purple Frost in the Mustang Lounge

Skai Bekeris, USC News | Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:30am

The University Students’ Council is proud to welcome Arkells back to Western University for one of the band’s first university campus shows in over two years. 

The Canadian rock band, formed in Hamilton, Ontario in 2006, has since won multiple JUNO nominations and awards for their passionate melodies reflected through powerful and energetic performances. Concertgoers can expect to rock along to ballads from their fifth studio album, Rally Cry, as well as some of their top hits, like “Knocking At The Door.”

USC News had the opportunity to talk with the lead singer of the Arkells, Max Kerman, ahead of Wednesday night’s show. 

Kerman, who attended McMaster University, spoke about his love for playing campus shows, like the upcoming concert in the Mustang Lounge. He recounted how he had been “bugging” his agent for the chance to play at a university, like Western.

“We haven’t actually had the chance to play any campus shows in the last two or three years. …It’s just kind of fun to play a smaller show like at a campus pub or in a hall,” he expressed. 

The award-winning artist then went on to suggest fans are in for an exclusive show at this year’s Purple Frost, highlighting the theatrics in mind for the smaller-scale venue.

“We’re able to scale it, it’s always a pretty immersive show. I mean, some venues simply don’t allow for fireworks or pyro[technics] or any of that stuff. We play a variety of venues always: we play club shows, we play big shows, and I feel like the spirit is really what counts and trying to make the most out of every song, make the most out of what the environment has given to us. I think there’s a natural charm and energy when you’re playing to a bunch of rowdy 20-year-olds that will be unique to the Mustang Lounge.”

Kerman also mentioned a few of the band’s local London favorites, which include Prince Albert’s Diner, Mollie Blooms, and strolling down Richmond Row.

Nick Dika, Arkell’s bassist and London native, has “real roots in London,” said Kerman. One of Dika’s favorites? Stobies Pizza. 

Kerman tells fans that after the Purple Frost show, “we’ll see you all [at Stobie’s] at 1 a.m.”

With the band’s origin tracing back to his university days, Kerman also reflected on the importance of music in his life when he was a student.

“I remember when I was at McMaster, how important those shows were to me. I know the music I listened to between the ages of 17 and 22 really holds a special place in my heart. So the idea that we get to be that for kids that are in school today is something that I think is really cool,” he said. 

The Canadian rock-star acknowledged that the overall student experience is an important part in the lives of Arkells fans and was happy that student unions like the USC continue to provide this kind of programming on campus. 

Related story: Tobias-Murray, USC Associate Programming, reflects on the collaborative efforts for Purple Frost

In a heartfelt moment, Kerman recalled the time when a newly-engaged fan shared that an Arkells’ song would be used for the first dance at his wedding, after having discovered the band at Queen’s Homecoming in 2012.

“We find that there’s a lot of really cool stories about people discovering Arkells on campus. I think one of the biggest sorts of blessings this band has offered me is a chance to be a part of other people’s lives in a cool way like that. So, that’s why we like to play campus shows,” Kerman expressed. 

Don’t miss this special event on Wednesday, January 29th from 8 PM – 11 PM in the Mustang Lounge. Tickets are still available for purchase through Eventbrite. For more information, be sure to check out the event page on Facebook.

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