On the heels of their June 14 NXNE showcase, Montreal duo AroarA (Andrew Whiteman and Ariel Engel) returned to Toronto for the release of their debut full length album In The Pines.
The venue of Toronto's St. George the Martyr Church (renamed The Music Gallery when hosting music acts) couldn't help but lend a sense of reverence to the proceedings. The over 150 year old architecture and stained glass windows made for a striking visual backdrop for the evening.
The group's sixty-five minute, thirteen song set included eight from the brand new release plus another three from their previously released self-titled e.p. Opening song "5" began with a hard drum machine loop and had the duo playing around with the vocal melody lines, making the song noticably different than as heard on the studio version. Similarly, the second song played "2" was performed at a much quicker tempo than on album and with a new serpentine guitar lead from Whiteman. Another noticeable change was hearing "10" with it's unique keyboard part successfully re-arranged for two guitars. In fact, exceptional axe-work made for much of the show. "6" ended with Whiteman gracefully soloing during the coda and on "12", Engel stepped up for an aggressively off-kilter solo while her partner provided a strong foundation of thick riffs. Her trademark cigar-box guitar however only appeared on three songs throughout the performance.
For "4" and "14" the group doubled in size with the addition of Daniela Gesundheit from Snowblink and Leslie Fiest both adding extra layers of guitars and vocals to the material. "14" in particular benefited from the now huge wall of female vocalizing.
Back to a two piece for the first encore, Whiteman and Engel took a crack at covering Brigitte Fontaine's "Petit Sapin" en francais which was followed by the last song of the night, Antony's "Another World" which brought Fiest and Gesundheit back to create a cascading three part chorale over Whiteman's understated strumming.
The following night, AroarA did a brief in-store appearance at local independent record store Soundscapes. The slightly subdued seven song set included a smoother vocal on "4", three songs again with the assistance of Leslie Fiest and Daniela Gesundheit and the real surprise of the gig, an audience request for the rarely played (and according to Whiteman, still being worked on) "13" from the debut e.p.
The Music Gallery
Sep 5 2013
Sep 6 2013