Whether you attend festivals or not, all have one major upside: They essentially help you curate a new playlist of upcoming artists in a diverse set of genres. Scanning the Lollapalooza and Coachella lineups from top to bottom is likely to yield a few repeat performers you should be paying close attention to, especially when a few years down the line, they could be headlining (e.g. Chance the Rapper).
Arkells is a perfect example. Fresh off a tour with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, the Canadian group just performed its gospel-tinged "Drake's Dad" at the Juno Awards. If the title of the track leaves you confused, allow us to clarify: The tune is about Drake's (yes, the rapper) dad who the lead singer met on a road trip. And if you're lucky to hear the group perform in concert, the members will tell the story in a winding lead up to the track itself.
While Arkells has had fairly large success in Canada (The JUNO Awards love these guys), the U.S. charts are completely missing the boat on a exuberant and quirky band that has alternative pop bops and hymnal, high-energy, upbeat rock songs.
The outfit is four albums in, with Morning Report being released last August, claiming the songs "Drake's Dad," "My Heart's Always Yours," and the criminally underrated "A Little Rain (Song for Pete)."
Lead singer, Max Kerman, is a charmingly awkward dancer with questionable rhythm in his steps akin to Chris Martin's strange energy. The entire band, and Kerman especially, has a stage presence that is infectious and addictively inclusive, even for people discovering the group for the first time (take note Coachella, Shaky Knees and Osheaga attendees).
With a tour consisting mostly of festivals this Spring and Summer, make sure to take full advantage of any Arkells performances you can tune into or attend. It's a band that is brilliant through headphones and speakers (as evidenced by our essentials playlist below), but even more exceptional live.