James Street North Art Crawl
Before we hit the streets to enjoy tomorrow’s Art Crawl, let’s recap July’s! This was the summer Art Crawl I had been waiting for. May’s was a bit rainy but luckily cleared up later; June’s was inexplicably cold – come on, weather! But July – this was just right.
I was excited enough to get out and explore, but a surprise show made the day even better. Before heading into CFMU that day, I caught wind of the pop-up Arkells show hosted by Supercrawl at a mystery location. Even more exciting, Arkells were collaborating with the Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra. Wristbands were up for grabs at Dr. Disc and Cheapie’s for the four mini performances and disappeared pretty much instantly.
I was lucky enough to be at the first performance. The location, Gasworks, really was a mystery to me, even once I knew the address on Park Street. I had no idea what the building was or what to expect from inside. The room was quite small, with the orchestra and band taking up about half of it (the room’s capacity was 70 people).
The orchestra took their positions, followed by Boris Brott, who then introduced the band. They launched into their set, and the sound was overwhelming. In the space of only about 25 minutes, it felt like a full blown concert. What I love about Arkells is it doesn’t matter the size of the room – they play like it’s an arena. They play with so much passion an energy every single time, and Max Kerman is one of the most engaging frontmen I’ve ever seen. You always feel part of the show.
This was our first listen to Arkells’ new material off their third album High Noon, aside from singles that were released already, “Never Thought That This Would Happen,” and “Come To Light.” Obviously, the music was even more of a force as it was being backed by a 40-piece orchestra, but I could tell the songs were Arkells’ most adventurous yet. A highlight for me was “What Are You Holding On To” – it stayed with me until I could finally hear it again when the album was released.
It was a joy to see Boris Brott in a performance like this and interact with Arkells. He even stepped down and sang into Max’s microphone at one point. He always looks like he’s having the best time. Igor Saika-Voivod, who arranged the music for this special performance, took the reigns to conduct the final song.
It was just so exciting to be there to witness that. I managed to snap some pretty good photos in the process (breaking my Instagram record for likes!) while doing my best to just absorb the performance and be in the moment. I even made it into a photo snapped by The Spec (page 3)!
High Noon was just released this week – go get it! Arkells will also headline Supercrawl on Friday, September 12th.
Phew, now, that was so exhilarating that I didn’t even know where to go from there. How am I expected to get back into the flow of the Crawl after that! I was still shaking!
During my Crawl, I found Danielle Plester set up in the Tivoli lot with her line Lost & Found Vintage. Danielle’s line is sold at Newold’s, but she has now ventured into her own pop-up shop as well. Not just any pop-up, but a trailer! It’s the city’s first and only mobile vintage shop. I couldn’t get over how cute it looked set up in the summer sun, with all of the garments and accessories everywhere. Danielle is one of the most stylish and daring people when it comes to fashion that I know. Seeing her always inspires me to want to try out a new look and pick up something different. Be on the lookout for Lost & Found Vintage in your travels.
James Street North was looking extra festive with colourful flags of the world flying across the street. World Cup fever was still going strong. The streets were busting. Outside Christ’s Church Cathedral, a huge crowd formed to watch the band who are always set up just outside the gate. Inside the church’s lot, of course, is another staple to Art Crawl, Makers’ Market, which is always full of finds.
Across the road, at James North General Store, art by Sue Mangan was exhibited in the alleyway out back. The local artist incorporates found and recycled objects into her work. Everything was so fascinating to look at. She says of her work, “I follow my intuition and just do what the piece tells me to, often holding onto something until the ‘lightbulb’ comes on and a solution presents itself in the form of an art piece.”
Leaving James North General Store with a latte to-go, it was over to Dr. Disc for Raise the Roof, co-presented by I Heart Hamilton and Hamilton Magazine. It has been a lot of fun booking the bands for this series. July’s lineup saw Black Rhino Riot, Pet Sun, ttwwrrss, Allegories, and Jaunt. I made it over in time for Allegories, one of my favourite new acts right now. I can’t get over them every time I see them – they’re a band you must experience. Keep an eye on those mysterious gators.
Get ready for the next edition of Raise the Roof tomorrow (August 8th)! It kicks off at 6pm with Two Stripes Down, followed by The Tallest Tree (7pm), Haolin Munk (8pm), Ascot Royals (9pm), and The Human Orchestra (10pm). [More info here!]
Keep calm and crawl on!