As an encore to Saturday night, Marianas Trench came to see me on The Noise Tour last Wednesday.
If Fall Out Boy are my favorite band, then Marianas Trench is easily my second favorite at the moment. And fate decided to bring them to my corner of the world within four days of one another.
Clearly, I had to be there.
Marianas Trench is a pop rock band from the great white north of Canada. I live in the deep(ish) South. So unlike Fall Out Boy, grabbing a ticket to this show was a piece of cake and saved me a lot more money.
They’re a pretty big deal in Canada. Here in the US? Not so much. You may have heard some of the lead singer’s (Josh Ramsay) work though. He co-wrote a little song you may have heard of for a fellow Canadian – Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.
But since no one knows him for that, or their band for that matter, the venue was empty. Fall Out Boy sold out and had the place packed on all three floor levels. The crowd for this show was easily a fifth of the size, if not more. When I got there, the crowd was maybe 10 people deep between where I was standing and the front of the stage. I absolutely adore these types of venues and shows. It’s way more intimate and personal seeing a band you like when you’re practically standing next to them than when you’re crammed in without any breathing room with 2000 other people.
It was going to be a great night.
First up was Ghost Town. They call Hollywood, CA home and were an eclectic bunch: black drummer, awkward white DJ, white lead singer, and white screamer guitarist. Not sure it’s exactly my cup of tea but I enjoyed watching them. It’s fun to watch how a band performs when almost no one in the audience knows who they are, which was definitely the case here. They’ve got an electronic/dub step-ish sound to their music, which is just a guy who looks like he’s playing on a laptop on stage. I think that’s hard to pull of live though because when I went back to listen to the recorded songs, they sound completely different.
After their set, I headed over to the merch tables. Somehow, the tshirts were more expensive for Marianas Trench than Fall Out Boy. So I took some time debating on how I wanted to best spend my $30. I’m not a huge fan of white tshirts but the black shirt they had was pretty much just the cover of their album with the tour dates on the back. So I settled on my second white band shirt in four days.
Second on the bill was Air Dubai. They hail from Denver, CO and were more diverse than Ghost Town, somehow. Two black lead singers (one who handled the rap-ish parts and one who sounded like he was plucked from a church choir), a nerdy white guitarist who would only look at the ceiling and not into the crowd, a keyboardist who looked like a hipster, a bassist, and the drummer. So odd. I wasn’t feeling their music but they were clearly having a good time on stage. It’s hard to hate on anyone just having a blast doing what they do.
- Intro video – First, the sound was WAY off, so it was hard to follow along. Second, I’m not a huge fan of “concept album” bands and that’s what this reminded me of. The production quality was super high, given that it’s just a video for their tour and not a music video. It was a fairy-tale-ish story about an evil queen and the lead singer and a key? I don’t get it.
- Ever After – The song that opens their third album also opens their live set. I liked the buildup and how all of the band members got involved. It starts a cappella, adds piano, then strings, and turns into a massive sounding song by the end.
- All To Myself – One of my favorite songs from their second album but it was a little disappointing. The lights on stage were CRAZY bright, in the crowds’ eyes, and super distracting. And the band’s energy was a lacking, like they were disinterested.
- Shake Tramp – The only song from their first album. I don’t know hardly any of the lyrics, so I just sang the chorus and watched. The band was still pretty stationary on stage. Odd for such a flamboyant front man.
- Toy Soldiers – Josh Ramsay took to the mic, introduced the band, and thanked everyone for coming out since they’ve never been down South before. He ditched his guitar for this one and started commanding the stage. Finally things got moving! Any song that starts with video game sounds has to be fun, right?
- By Now – They slowed the show down with this one. It’s an excellent song though. And let’s Josh show off his pipes a good bit towards the end.
- Desperate Measures – My favorite song from the third album. A strong drum beat throughout the entire song makes you want to move. There’s a great part near the end for the band to quit playing music and the audience claps them through it too. And I’ve always loved the lyric “For a first effort, this feels kind of last ditch”. So I may or may not have belted the lyrics and bounced around a little bit.
- Intermission video – Back to the videos. The audio was still not great. I think this is the one where a girl was introduced into the tale? Again, I wasn’t really following. Way over my head.
- Truth or Dare – Another drum heavy song on the album. So what happens? Everyone in the band played drums! The entire song! Ramsay on the drum set, the drummer carried around marching band drums, and the bassist & guitarist had their own on the side. Too cool! For being a lead singer and guitarist, he sure can hold his own on a set of drums.
- Beside You – Slowing it down again. Another excellent song that shows off Ramsay’s singing ability. He seems to hit almost all of his notes live. I listened to this song a TON on my trip around the county in 2010, so it made me smile to hear it in person. Very stripped down and intimate on stage.
- Celebrity Status – When I think of MT, I think of this song. Love, love, love it! Such a fun song and lyrics (Step one, step two, step three repeat/I pray at the church of “asses in the seats”). I definitely “shake, shake, shake”d. Definitely did not “shut my mouth.”
- Haven’t Had Enough – Another favorite from the third album. Another song that makes you want to move your booty. That’s the beauty about a band that isn’t famous yet with a ton of albums in their wheelhouse. You see every song you’d ever want to hear.
- Fallout – By far the best performance of the night. They absolutely destroyed this song live. It started out with an old cartoon nuclear fallout video from the 1950s. Once a mushroom cloud showed up on the screen, the band opened the song and killed it.
- Stutter – Hard to go wrong playing a clap-heavy song. The chorus features a cascading “stutter” sung by each member of the band. The recorded songs are almost all Ramsay on the vocals (and rightfully so). But it’s really cool seeing how every member shares parts of each song on the mics. It’s really apparent that they’re a very involved band that spreads the talent/credit.
- Cross My Heart – More claps, more dancing in place. My second favorite song from the second album. They quit playing near the end to let the crowd sing over everything. And Ramsay did a little vocal riffing and had the crowd join in to close out the song.
- Intermission video – The rest of the band members make an appearance in this video as soldiers for Ramsay. And the evil queen has some henchmen of her own. Clearly a war’s about to brew. No idea what for though… because I still don’t get it.
- Porcelain – Not a big fan of this song. It’s about the only song of theirs on their last two albums that I don’t like. I wish it could have been played earlier in the set, so it’s less likely to be what you remember the show by. But I’m just being picky.
- So Soon – The band left the stage and Ramsay came out by himself with an acoustic guitar to take requests and this song was the winner. I think this is a close second to Fallout for the night’s best performance. The album version is already stripped down to just a piano and this version just got better. So emotionally charged! It made you want to just close your eyes, sing along, and get lost in the song. It gives me goosebumps listening to it again.
- Intermission video – The band guys fight the henchmen. Ramsay gets glitter blown into his face from the evil queen. The girl sneaks off to unlock a trunk and get…. who knows? Because they never show her opening it. And no idea what happens to Ramsay or if he won. I. Am. So. Lost.
- No Place Like Home – The song that closes their third album closes their live set. I didn’t really get the first and last song on either of their last two albums. But it makes a lot of sense after seeing them live. It’s like a prologue and epilogue in music form. I’ve got a new appreciation for their albums now, which is something cool to take away from a live show.
- Fix Me – 1 song
- Masterpiece Theatre – 4 songs
- Ever After – 11 songs (out of 12)
About the only thing I wish I could have heard was Acadia and Good To You from the second album. But outside of Porcelain, I was super happy with the set.
Easily the second best night of 2013!