The Arkells

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Spotlight: soulful pop rockers the Arkells trade in Hamilton dive bars for the ACC

Spotlight: soulful pop rockers the Arkells trade in Hamilton dive bars and block parties for the ACC

Clockwise from top: Nick Dika, Max Kerman, Mike DeAngelis, Anthony Carone and Tim Oxford (Image: Alice Rosenbaum)

In this post-Bieber era, when any bedroom singer with a YouTube account and a good hook can become a global pop star overnight, the Arkells are a throwback to a time when bands proved themselves worthy by hitting the road and hauling their own equipment from gig to gig. The five guys in the group are consummate stage hounds, ready to play anywhere, any time—tiny dives, block parties, half-time shows at football games, and more elegant affairs like the COC’s most recent Operanation gala, where they performed with the soprano Ambur Braid.

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Party Pages: Opera supporters dance to Nelly Furtado and The Arkells at this year’s Operanation gala

Operanation, the annual party to benefit the Canadian Opera Company, is always one of the year’s biggest fetes (not least in terms of space—the party spans three floors of the Four Seasons Centre). This year, the main draws were musical guests Nelly Furtado and The Arkells, both accompanied by singers from the Opera Company. Before the performance, we spoke with Gabrielle Miller, everyone’s favourite Corner Gas star, about hopping between Canada and the U.S.—the actress is now multinational, having just starred in Psycho Therapy in New York. (The Vancouver native also touched on West Coast versus Ontario rivalries, joking that “the only people who rag on Toronto are the ones who haven’t visited it yet.”)

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The Weekender: Iain Baxter&, the Carnegie Hall Show and six other items on our to-do list

The Weekender: Iain Baxter&, La Fille mal gardée and Obeah Opera

1. SUMO ROBOT CHALLENGE
This long-running robot fight club—it turns 20 this year—is, in part, a fun way for OCAD U students, local high school kids and other members of the robot-happy public to expand their “imaginations [and] electronic, mechanical and fabrication skills.” But mostly, it’s a chance to pit tiny, metallic warriors against one another in combat. Let there be blood (or strewn robot insides). March 3. $5. OCAD U Auditorium, 100 McCaul St., 416-977-6000 ext. 332, ocadu.ca.

2. LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE
This historic ballet—it was first performed in Bordeaux in the late 1700s—is funny and sweetly innocent without veering into the saccharine. Lise, a maiden from a small French village, is in love with Colas, a handsome young farmer. Her meddlesome mother has other plans—she wants to set her up with the dull son of a wealthy landowner. The young lovers get their happy ending, of course, but it’s the pastoral capers that get them there that makes this a ballet a classic. To March 4. $25–$234. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, www.national.ballet.ca.

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TIFF

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On night three of Festival Music House, it was indie rock madness with The Arkells and Hey Rosetta!

Parlovr getting into it at Festival Music House (Image: J.J. Thompson)

Last night wrapped up the final eve of Festival Music House at TIFF, and much like the two nights before it, the booze was flowing and the bands gave it their all. Festival Music House curators Arts&Crafts (the label that brought us Broken Social Scene, The Stills, Timber Timbre and Jason Collett to name a few) did a great job creating unique lineups with different themes each night, with Monday’s performances appealing to a more mainstream crowd, Tuesday’s country and folk influence and last night’s indie rock thread with The Darcys, Parlovr, Hey Rosetta!, The Rural Alberta Advantage and headliners The Arkells. Check out who showed up and rocked out, after the jump.

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Festival Music House to host K’naan, Sam Roberts Band, the Arkells, Rural Alberta Advantage and more during TIFF 2011

K’naan will show TIFF some love this year (Image: Coca Cola South Africa)

It seems like festivals these days aren’t content with offering one type of entertainment: in addition to the staggering number of films screening at TIFF this year, the festival will include art installations, as well as thoroughly Canadian music programming at the Festival Music House (also know as The Mod Club, on College Street). With well-known Canadian artists, including Sam Roberts Band, Rural Alberta Advantage, K’naan, Hey Rosetta! and the Sheepdogs, we’ve got to hand it to this year’s organizers for putting together a pretty fantastic concert series. Check out the full lineup after the jump.

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