Arkells win twice at 2015 Junos in Hamilton

Hamilton rock group Arkells took home two big awards as the weekend music festival in the group's hometown showcased the best of Canadian music.

Rock band wins group of the year and rock album of the year

Arkells made it an award-winning repeat night Sunday as the band won rock album of the year during the Junos in downtown Hamilton.

“It’s too much. It’s an embarrassment of riches,” frontman Max Kerman told reporters after accepting the award.

The hometown rock band also took home group of the year honours Saturday night during the Juno Awards dinner.

The band’s Hamilton pride shone through once again during the national broadcast, as Kerman proclaimed, “The thought of you, Hamilton, keeps me warm” while playing Come to Light on the Juno stage.

Arkells played the track from High Noon at FirstOntario Centre, mere minutes from McMaster University where the band got its start and the street that inspired their name. Closer still was The Casbah, the well-known Hamilton venue that hosted their second show.

The band reprised its incendiary collaboration with Boris Brott and the National Academy Orchestra during the broadcast, backed by strings and a live horn section.

Audiences in Hamilton first got a taste of the mashup last year, when the band joined Brott and the orchestra for a series of intimate pop up shows just before Supercrawl.

'I was in complete shock'

Despite the High Noon's success, there are no plans to take the string section on the road during the band’s next tour, Kerman says. “You can only tour with 12 members if you’re making Arcade Fire Money,” he laughed.

Other awards winners Sunday night included Leonard Cohen for album of the year, Magic! for single of the year and Kieza for breakthrough artist of the year.

Kieza also nailed a solemn, pitch perfect rendition of Sound of a Woman at the piano, before breaking into her 90s throwback hit Hideaway.

“I was in complete shock when things started blowing up, because I only expected my Facebook friends to see the video," she said, referring to Hideaway's video, which has garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. “It’s been a surreal experience."

Hedley frontman pulls double duty as host

Hedley opened the show with their hit Anything, backed by a full drum line and showers of pyro cascading down from the roof at FirstOntario Centre. Frontman Jacob Hoggard did an admirable job as host, and told reporters after the show that though he expected some initial blowback when he was announced as the show's host, people were remarkably supportive.

Alanis Morissette also proved that though she has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of fame, she's far from ready to be put out to pasture. She stormed through a powerful medley of some of the best tunes from her back catalogue, like Uninvited, You Oughta Know and Thank You.

Backstage after the show, Morissette told reporters that Canadian music is in good hands, now and in the future. “There’s such a wealth of unique, powerful, empowered emotional people here," she said.

“These are people who are deeply heartful and soulful just by default.”

The announced attendance for the broadcast was a just about sold out stadium, with 11,761 tickets sold.

adam.carter@cbc.ca | AdamCarterCBC


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