The last time I saw Marianas Trench perform was in 2016 at their first ever London show – filled to the rim with fans awaiting to see a band that they have had to wait a long time to see in the UK, with high expectations. It may of only been three years but there has been a dramatic change in this band and seeing them live.
Right from the word ticket sales you could tell there had been a shift in Marianas Trench’s position in Europe because the world of the VIP was part of the package if you wanted it. When I saw them back in 2016, this was not the case instead we hung out in the lobby for 10 minutes and half of the band came out to meet the eager fans to have photos and talk to them, It may be a small change (Which may of been present in their second tour of the UK but I can’t tell you as I couldn’t make it) but it shows just how the popularity of the band has significantly grown.
Right, let us talk about support acts. Back in 2016, these didn’t exist – a very shy group of four men approached the stage and welcomed the audience with their melodic and powerful song Astoria. This time round they have two support acts – DJ George Thomas and Dirty Radio. I am a fan of support acts as I have come across some of the bands that I adore through this ( The Blackout and Zebrahead to name a couple) and I felt at the 2016 this was missing.
George Thomas was the first to open the show up, a DJ who liked to mix up and intertwine between the genres. Now, I will start off by saying that I quite enjoyed a couple of his mixes and there are a few versions he did that I prefer to the original song, but I did feel that there were a couple of mixes that I gritted my teeth to a little bit as I felt they didn’t work. Whilst a talented musician, I felt that his set was too long, I feel that his set would of been more effective on the audience if it was tighter. This I find was evident by the fact I found it more entertaining at points to watch people in the mosh because they were getting people around them to dance the Macarena routine to get entertain themselves.
The second support act of the night were a band called Dirty Radio – a duo where drums and beats take centre stage and their talents when they are playing their instruments are phenomenal and so entertaining to watch. Saying that, I found their set took time to sort of start – their opening was fantastic, creative drumming, high energy and addictive beats then for a good 10 minutes or so it fell a bit flat, which was such a shame. Whether it was nerves or they were in the moment I don’t know, but they were not really welcoming the audience into their world. There was a moment about 10 to 15 minutes in when you felt the whole audience change – the song they were singing they sung to the audience and got the mosh involved and from that one pivotal moment the whole atmosphere altered. People really committed to their enjoyment of their music and got involved with the second part of their set.
Now lets get onto the main event Marianas Trench – it may of only been three years but the concert felt so different from the first time I saw them. Firstly, there was lots of smiling from the band throughout – this time you could tell that they were fully enjoying themselves on the stage and really allowing the adrenaline of performing to yet again a sold out venue, flow through them. The energy was electric and it felt to me like I was watching a concert in Canada instead of the UK.
Back in 2016, Josh Ramsay and the band spoke to the audience a lot, this time this was not as much of the focus point, whether this is their aim as a band or just comes with time, we will never know but it there wasn’t a lot of ‘banter’ with the audience as their was originally. This does not mean that they didn’t make the audience feel like part of the Marianas Family, oh no, they went above and beyond and did something that hardly happens at all in the UK – and that was come out into the audience. The night really felt like one big party – Josh went through the mosh pit dancing with fans and even went all the way to the back on a platform to dance with his fans – a really surprising addition to the show but also something that made everyone feel included and have one big fest.
Back in my review in 2016, I mentioned that Josh reaching high notes with a cold was exceptional but seeing him when he is 100% well……what an experience! It was like nothing I had seen before – when you hear bands reach high notes on albums they more then likely a lot of the time miss out 90% of them when you see them live – not Josh Ramsay. Every high note, no matter how difficult, was reached and it was absolutely outstanding to witness it live.
We cannot continue this review without talking about the other band members – Matt and Mike may not sing as much as Josh but when they do they heighten the whole experience and bring the songs to a whole new level. Both Matt and Mike’s energy on stage is so fun to watch, whilst both very different in how they approach it, you can see the love and passion in what they are doing. Since the last time Ian’s drumkit has got significantly bigger and it just means that his playing has also followed suit. For me a highlight was hearing Who Do You Love live because of Ians drum styling’s are so unique in that song and it was just as great as I was expecting.
Another person we have to mention and give a special paragraph to is Royce, the ‘adopted’ member of the band. When I saw them in 2016, there was only the four members but having this addition to the group I cannot emphasis how much of an impact it has on the band playing live. It means that Josh doesn’t have to play all the time and can interact more with the audience and focus on the ‘production values’ and it just heightens the whole set. When I originally listened to the album Phantoms I did wonder how they were going to bring the songs to life as their is much keyboard in them that play a fundamental part of the song – having Royce means they can have this capability and it really makes it what it deserves to be – beautiful.
The show was a mixture of songs from the latest album and songs from their back catalogue including hits such as Haven’t Had Enough, Celebrity Status, Good To You and everyone’s favourite Desperate Measures. I loved that they have kept their format of opening and closing their shows with the first and last song of their most recent album. It is such a unique selling point for two reasons – 1) Their albums are like a cinematic experience and the opening and closing songs always take you on a narrative journey and 2) I don’t think many bands do this and it is such a clever thing to do.
I am so glad that I have seen Marianas Trench with a significant gap to see how they have grown as a band. I always felt part of this special group in the UK back in 2016 of a bagful of people that had heard of this band and it frustrated me so much that more people had not because they are so highly talented.
It is evident from this one show just how much their fan base is growing in the UK and it makes me so happy to witness. Considering they did half the amount of shows around the country back then and now they are doing double and selling out pretty much all of them, that is pretty special and I can’t wait to see what the next decade of the 20’s is going to do for this band. They may not be thinking or excited about this prospect already, but I most certainly am.
Rating: ***** 5 Stars