To the lucky few who have wristbands to see the Arkells play in downtown Hamilton Friday night with Boris Brott and The National Academy Orchestra: you are in for one hell of a show.
“Really, this is amazing,” said Mike DeAngelis, the band’s guitarist. “The orchestra brings a certain power to everything, and these are sounds that are above and beyond what we can do as a rock band.”
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CBC Hamilton was in house to catch the band’s rehearsal in a secret location before the first of four shows planned for Friday night. They’re playing a short set of songs, most of them from their soon to be released album, High Noon. You can watch the band storm through Whistleblower, backed by the orchestra, in the video player above.
The band’s influences clearly ring out with arrangements of this scope and size: there’s hints of lush 60s pop, Beck’s Sea Change, and even British rock band Elbow’s performances with the BBC orchestra.
It’s a close to cinematic experience, and likely not one that audiences will soon forget.
“I think young people can get a real taste here for both what we do and what the band does,” said Brott. “We want young people to buy into us as an orchestra, and what better way to do it?”
The National Academy Orchestra is made up of musicians who are mostly in their 20s, who Brott calls some of the “finest young musicians in Canada.” They’re music school grads who are just as likely to have rock and pop on their playlists as Beethoven and Schubert, he says.
This show is also a sneak peak Brott’s upcoming Orchestrate Hamilton! initiative – a concept series that connects the symphony with select local artists to orchestrate their work for unique performances. He says he’s hoping to reach out to artists like local beatboxer Hachey the MouthPeace and multi-instrumentalist Yiannis Kapoulas next in an effort to keep melding musical genres.
“We have a real potential of elevating the musical heart of this city,” he said.
So congratulations to anyone who scored wristbands for the show – but everyone else is sadly out of luck. Tickets for the intimate four performances sold out in just about an hour.