Arkells with July Talk, Mondo Cozmo and Said the Whale at Budweiser Stage

Photos by Randall Vasquez

It was fitting that The Arkells and July Talk’s sold-out show at the Budweiser Stage took place on the same weekend as Pride.

Messages of love from the headliners became a bit of an unofficial theme to the evening. The jam-packed night got off to great start with an energetic set with Vancouver’s Said the Whale’s spritely indie pop tunes, their hits ‘I Love You’ and ‘I Will Follow You’ were definite highlights.

The otherwise outstanding line-up of bands hit its only real snag with sole American act on the bill; LA’s Mondo Cozmo, aka Josh Keith Ostrander. The band’s dance rock was overwhelmingly loud and admittedly, some of the songs did start to run together. They did turn in a decent cover of The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony and endeared themselves to the crowd by dedicating one song to the people on the lawn seats and wishing Canada a happy birthday but it was a relief when they left the stage.

There was no doubt that the capacity crowd was there to see July Talk. Sporting a line-up that included two admittedly unnecessary back-up singers, the band’s set kicked off with a speech by singer Leah Fay in honour of National Indigenous People’s Day. She also sported eye shadow and a belt with the Pride rainbow on it.

This was somewhat hampered when her mic, and a replacement, didn’t work, Not hearing her vocals during ‘Summer Dress’ did take away from the song. She put her background in dance to good use throughout their set and Peter Dreimanis also showed off some moves. Dreimanis said that the gig was a homecoming they had been looking forward to Fay encouraged the audience to sing along for their breakthrough hit ‘Guns and Ammunition’ and walked out into the crowd for ‘Paper Girl’. Matt Mays joined them for a raucous cover of Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’.

The feeling of love and camaraderie carried through to The Arkells’ set with the audience singing along throughout. They fully encouraged audience participation. Singer Max Kerman recounted the story of hearing their song ‘Oh, The Boss is Coming!’ on the radio for the first time. The catchy ’11:11′ was another highlight. ‘Pull No Punches’ transformed into a tribute to Soul music. Kerman went right out into the audience for ‘Drake’s Dad’ and he sang with scary intensity into an on-stage camera for ‘Whistleblower’. All the bands who had played that night joined them for the last song of the encore; a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ that saw the lead singers of all the bands singing a verse.

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