LIVE REVIEW: The Arkells // Atlanta, GA – November 10th

By: Jenna Hink

Two years ago, Irontom came to Atlanta while touring with with Finish Ticket and Vinyl Theatre. My dear friend and I went to that concert for the main acts, not really knowing who Irontom was. This past Friday night, we ventured right back down to the same venue, Terminal West, for the sole purpose of seeing Irontom. When we attended the show in February of 2016, we laughed the entire set. The music was intriguing, but we were so focused on Harry Hayes and his very unique dancing. Hearing that they would be returning to Atlanta, I told my friend right away and bought tickets. There was no chance we would miss the opportunity to see those boys again.

Irontom blew me away this time more than the last. Of course this time I knew what to expect and I was more familiar with their music and could sing along. Yet the band still entertained my friend and I through the whole set. We laughed and sang along, the positive energy was overwhelming. The crowd was also rather small and full of adults enjoying drinks so being up front was easy.

The boys came out straight faced but you could tell they were excited. The entire set they gave it their all and the crowd gave it right back. Harry Hayes, the lead singer, is by far the most unique performer I have seen live. He mumbles to himself between singing verses and dances around the entire time. My friend and I kept asking each other “what do you think he’s saying to himself now?” because we were right up front and it was sort of distracting. Some of the time I was so focused on trying to read his lips, I have no idea what was going on around me.

The songs flowed nicely but there was still a mixture between upbeat and more chill songs. The crowd didn’t lose interest through the whole hour they were on stage. The performance was mesmerizing and I would recommend it to any person of any age. You don’t have to be familiar with their music to get pulled in by their sound, movement, and message.

The headliner, The Arkells, came on moments after Irontom. One of the first things I appreciated was that there was only a brief stage change, no long wait between opener and headliner. I was unfamiliar with The Arkells, only having listened to a couple of songs in preparation for the concert but my friend and I were pulled in through their performance we ended up staying the whole show, unlike what we had planned to do.

The band started with an Amazing Grace sing-a-long, unlike anything I have ever experienced at any other concert. Most bands begin with one of their most popular songs but The Arkells began with something everyone would know and could sing along to. I think this really set the mood for the rest of the night as they established a close bond between performer and audience in the first three minutes.

They kept that mood for the whole set. Every song was easy to sing along to and dance to. My friend and I have never been big dancers at concerts. We may bop around a little but nothing too crazy. This concert changed us. We cleared a space to danced our heart out among many other girls our age doing the same. I looked around and everyone in the room was moving around in some way. I have never seen that in any other concert, there are always people standing around looking unamused, but not this time. Even though I didn’t know a few songs, they were all upbeat and so easy to dance to.

The Arkells reminded me a lot of Hippo Campus at times. They have a sweet, young sound with upbeat, happy sounding songs. Since Hippo Campus is already one of my favorites, The Arkells left a very good impression on me.

As I’ve already said, the band bonded with audience the whole night. The lead singer, Max Kerman, invited a boy from the audience to play guitar with the band. The boy, Austin, blew everyone away and looked as if he was having the time of his life on stage. I have never seen any band do that before. Later in the show, Max came into the crowd, stood on a box in the middle, and invited three young girls to join him. They looked about the age of 10, 8, and 6 but they knew all the words to the songs. Max sang and danced with the girls and following the performance, he recognized him and their smiles were from ear to ear.

I can honestly say that out of all the concerts I have attended, this show definitely earned a spot at the top of my list. Even though my friend and I went sort of as an inside-joke, it was just the break we both needed from the stress of everyday life. If you have the chance to see Irontom or The Arkells, I would most definitely recommend going no matter your age or music preference.

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