You know what I like about Marianas Trench? I mean besides the edgy punk screamy-ness, the fun catchy songs with the amazing drum beats that make you move to the rhythm (think Stutter, my favourite song of theirs), the emotional depth, the use of orchestration, and the intelligent well-thought out use of song placement to actually tell a story through the album…
I love the harmonies (e.g. So It Goes, Who Do You Love). This band has stunning harmonies, their voices blend so beautifully together that you can’t always tell where one ends and one begins… The vocal range of the group as a whole is superb. Deep shake the soul bass to shrill high pitched falsetto. Damn, I adore a good harmony.
And I love that Marianas Trench combine elements of all that together – pop, punk, hard rock, symphony, and harmonies – in the most unexpected ways. You can’t really fit them in a genre. Marianas Trench even imbibe from a little doo-wop and Motown; Shut Up and Kiss Me is so Jackson 5! And I love that they don’t just cover all these genres and more in their music as a whole, they do it all within a song (check out Masterpiece Theatre III, for instance)!
A little bit genius, I’ll gush. Definitely unique.
So yah, I love them a little bit.
And therefore, I had to go see them live when they came to K Days (Edmonton’s annual rodeo / festival / fairgrounds) on July 21, 2018. They are one of my top all time favourite Canadian bands, after all. One of my all time favs over all, after all…
So I dragged my sister and we spent the evening wandering the fairgrounds, eating far too many mini donuts (well I did anyways) and corndogs (we had one each – one was good, but still one too many… oh that carnival greasy carbo stomach pain).
The stage for Marianas Trench was far on the south side of the grounds and though it was general admission only, we rocked up about an hour before showtime. This is weird and unknown behaviour for me, just sayin… not early enough to get rail? Whaaaaaaat???!!!
We still managed to be about 4-5 people deep from the front of the stage, slightly off centre on guitarist Matt Webb’s side. The vast majority of people around us were under 20 and definitely fans of the band. I know the symptoms. Many of them would have been there for a few hours to ensure those rail spots. Many in MT shirts from previous concerts. At one point someone or ones from the band peeked out from backstage and the crowd went wild. Palpable anticipation in the air. Loud, top of the lung screams when the DJ asked who’s here for Marianas Trench…
I recognize these signs… this is fandom. This is love. This is connection with a band that have been around for awhile (Marianas Trench formed in 2001 and released their first album in 2006). This is kinda cool for me to see from the point of view of a fan with thirty years of band devotion under my belt. I was too far away from any musical community or concert options when I first started loving U2 so I missed all of the early days of the U2 fandom. Not that 17 years is really the early days for MT and their Trenchers, but it’s still fun to see the similarities between fans at both of these stages of a band’s career/longevity.
Zayna Langille, the fan who was brought up on stage to sing with Josh Ramsay discussed the perks of fandom in an article with Global News and it was like I was reading from the U2 fan groups:
“I met a lot of friends through them, I got into the Twitter fandom and stuff,” she said. “I was with a bunch of my friends from there last night and these are people that are from all over the place, all over Canada, I have friends all over the world through them. The connections and stuff and the cool things that I’ve gotten to do and the people that I’ve met.”
Music is no joke, people. It’s never just about the music. It’s about those connections. Connection to the sound. Connection between artist and fans. Connections between fans. Connection between musicians. Music is love. Music makes the world go round.
Anyways. The concert.
The concert, as all concerts of music I like are, was awesome. It was a simple festival stage with minimal lighting (and from our spot extremely minimal lighting on Matt – once the sun went down he was almost always in the dark – which made catching a photo really difficult!).
Stripped down to the basics. Band, music, fans.
As much as I enjoy a spectacular theatrical concert a la U2 or Coldplay, Marianas Trench prove you don’t always need it. Mind you, they did have the lighting and sounds of an amusement park in front of them!
The music was superb. I truly, truly, love their stuff and they played all the favourites (set-list below). Stutter, Desperate Measures, Who Do You Love, Pop 101, it was just constant awesome song after song. Harmonies intact. Josh’s voice strong. The drums… we could barely see Ian Casselman and every picture I took of him had a cymbal where his face should be, but damn I love the beat of Marianas Trench and live is killer 😀
Josh owned the stage and maneuvered his way across it and into the crowd like a boss. He even ventured through the crowd all the way to the back rail (the grounds were separated by the rails into the paid ticket area in front of the stage and a free area for anyone in the beer gardens) and sang a couple of songs while making his way along the barrier and back up to the stage.
He owned the crowd with his good-natured, humorous, banter throughout the night. Even playful teasing Zayna – “You better be good or this could go horribly wrong” as she joined him on stage for Good to You (she was really good, by the way.)
Oh. And then there was Josh’s super cool Canadian maple leaf shaped guitar.
Other than a bit of a shoving match next to us (ironically during the song Fallout), the energy was ebullient and happy. Everyone screaming, singing, jumping. I almost got punched in the face a few times by the girl in front of me exuberantly pulsing her fist in the air, lol!
You know, the concert high. It was a fabulous show. And another band I will be going to see again and again.
And – by the way – this set-list here… my sister grabbed that out of the air… and then promptly gave it to the girl behind her!!! I need to train her better – music-loving, rock god blogging sister should get first dibs on all memorabilia to come her way! That’s fine, at least the happy fan let me take a photo of it 😀
For more even more photos of the band, check out my 2018 gallery here.
Also check out my Marianas Trench playlist on Spotify: