The Arkells / Still Life Still Circa, Toronto, ON July 17

The Arkells / Still Life Still Circa, Toronto, ON July 17
By the time I reached Sound Academy local darlings Still Life Still were just closing up their set, which was a shame, as the big venue seemed to be hugging their sound rather than drowning it out, and the crowd was lapping it up. Having missed the Arts & Crafts signees, I had to settle for the no-less-impressive Arkells, who took the baton of crowd-pleasing with a smile and ran at full pelt.

The Hamilton, ON outfit's funk-infused indie sounded happy and carefree at all times, leaving you with no choice but to act in the same manner. They took the whole "fun" vibe to a ridiculous extreme by following in the footsteps of the Ruby Coast and going down the Motown route; Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown" has never sounded so energetic.

At no point did they let go of the reins, and ran from song to song with only the odd smattering of banter, like seasoned pros who know their audience. Fan favourite "Oh, the Boss Is Coming!" was a definite highlight, and although for one terrifying moment it sounded as if they're going to kick into "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits (a cover that can only have ended badly), they avoided that clanger and rode out on a wave of their own immeasurable talent.