. : : August 1st, 2009 : : .
I grew up in Scarborough, a suburb of eastern Toronto. I was fortunate enough to attend high school at what is now known as Wexford Collegiate School For The Arts. When I was enrolled, it was known by the ever-so-slightly less pretentious name of Wexford Collegiate Institute, but the focus was the same: it nurtured the artistic side of its students, focusing heavily on drama, music theatre, and visual arts. Because of its unique curriculum, many students (myself included) traveled across Scarborough, Toronto, and even the outskirt Durham region to attend this high school daily. Even so, there were many local students who attended the local school solely based on the proximity to their home, regardless of the artistic focus. However, it would be difficult not to be swayed and inspired by your peers, and even many of the non-art focus students were creative geniuses.
One such group of alumni students, ranging across several graduating classes, banded together to create music as Arietta. Originally comprised of only Wexford students, former members have gone on to found and perform with other successful bands such as The Great Bloomers and The Wooden Sky. The three original members of the band have remained steadfast amongst a frustratingly rotating rhythm section that certainly threatened to tear the band apart, but has also challenged them creatively and brought in various outside influences which have remained with the band long after their respective departures.
After some years of struggling with a steady and reliable line-up musicians that made touring difficult and recording all but impossible, Arietta seems to have finally settled and has never sounded more focused and driven as a result. They are one of the hardest-working bands in Toronto, performing frequently in various venues across the city and southern Ontario towns regularly. This aggressive, in-your-face brand of promotion has helped the band build a progressively enthusiastic following that has not only afforded them an opportunity to curtain-jerk for and grab the attention of such established acts as HaterHigh favourites Cursive, Portugal. The Man and So Many Dynamos, but also allowed them to take their show on the road, performing to crowds across the Canadian landscape.
And although their recorded output is solid — and the most recent release and their debut LP, Migrations, sounds as polished and professional as if they already have studio-financed label-backing — it’s always been their live shows that have made Arietta something truly special. The energy and enthusiasm shared amongst the members on-stage has always been unparalleled, making the bands performance not only an aural treat, but a visual equivalent of a meal. To enjoy Arietta any way other than live seems like a disservice.
I was fortunate enough to be granted a soundboard patch to tape Arietta’s opening slot for Cursive at the packed wall-to-wall Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on a warm August evening. The band, doubly energized to be opening for a band collectively revered, performed a fast and furious set that embodies much of what Arietta is all about. The recording is crisp and clear but, as with all soundboards, the mix is uneven. This recording is worth a download for fans of the band, but if this is your first exposure, do yourself a favour and get your butt down to an Arietta show first, and experience the band first hand — the way they are meant to be enjoyed.
02. Old Habits Die Young
05. Home. Friday. Midnight
11. It’s An Uphill Battle and It’s All Downhill From Here
13. Into The Deep
Thanks to Arietta, Cursive, and the Horseshoe Tavern staff. Please download and distribute this recording freely, and support the bands by buying their albums, merchandise and concert tickets when they perform in your town.