LIVE @ THE SONY CENTRE
Published: Monday, March, 18th 2019 2:56am
Photo Credit: Anna Sklavos / Fridae TV
Written/Edited By: Lulu D.
Marianas Trench are the lucky ones to get the first live review by yours truly this year! Why not right? Never were my cup of tea in the personal musical taste department, but they've always had my respect for doing their thing! We have covered them on FTV more than once and I've met the band a few times here and there at industry functions, but I really don't recall ever seeing them live, maybe at an awards show? Solo yes, back in 2014 electric axe-handler Matt Webb had a gig at Adelaide Music Hall in support of his EP Right Direction and I was there. Oh and lets not forget the bonus reason why...Marianas Trench dropped their new studio album "Phantoms" on March 1st and it peaked my eariocity. The newest record was released two weeks prior to this March 13th set at Toronto's Sony Centre and boop, here we are. Apparently, MT's "Phantoms" is their highest album debut on the charts, according to vox Josh Ramsay, who stated this at last nights show. After a little researching, bet you haven't read that in articles for a while (laughs, you know it's true)...Don't worry, we do it old school here, too legit! We research until we find real answers...Good thing too, when you dig deep you find out interesting things, discovered Marianas Trench had another album; "Masterpiece Theater" that also hit the same spot on the Canadian charts at #4. Absolutely fantastic for them, the tracks I've heard from this new record, has to be their best art work to date!
Takes a lot to pry me away from my physiotherapy workouts, medical treatments or beach loungings. We won't delve deep on this subject, just a little summary for the newbies, because those who have been supporting Fridae TV through the years already know. In June 2015 and April 2016, I was in a couple of MVA's, sure I have mentioned the severity of these accidents in prior writings. Any whoo...Long story short, I'm still recouping with new hurdles daily and have allergies to negative people also known as energy vampires and assholes. We all know music heals, my lawyers and doctors all agree concerts are allowed, but can't shoot or physically write until I get my bionic wrist. To keep this magazine a float, Lulu is the transcriber and we have fabulous photographers helping out with the visuals. We strive to keep Fridae TV a funsnatcher, energy vampire free environment. If you are new to Fridae TV, definitely browse through the content and be sure to drop by and read some past works on the old website.
Filtering is real, there is so much to say but nobody wants to watch, read or listen to irrelevant information...Ahem, Youtube these days. Sometimes, adding a human touch to an article makes the read more relatable. On that note, here is a serious quick tip to some "writers", if you must throw in big words from the dictionary, please, please, please, make sure to understand the various definitions, prior to sounding like a pretentious moronic twat. If you are more of a visual person, by all means, skip the words and be mesmerized by the fantastically awesome visuals! The photos were captured by longtime contributing Fridae TV photographer, the talented Anna Sklavos. Fast-forward, now back to our original programming the dissection of a Marianas Trench live performance! After a quick jibber with MT's super publicist Sam and her fabulous Strut femmes, I went to find my seat and the house music was still blaring AC/DC's "Highway To Hell". Huge thanks to the Strut team, MT's management, and Live Nation, for hooking it up and trusting my opinion enough to continuously allow FTV to showcase talent from Canada and around the world. Before getting comfy in full observation mode, with cat eye peripherals on 100, I had to make sure our girl Anna had a great safe spot to shoot from. Anna was probably the only photographer shooting from the side of the stage, I didn't see any others, then again my eyes drifted to the performers. But, from last point of view most of the other photographers, were shooting from front of house.
So happy I was seated in the middle of the venue, it was the perfect spot to observe the band and crowds reaction to Marianas Trench live. First thing my ears heard were loud screams, as the lights dimmed and this creepy Darwin-esque poem began to eerily play on a giant rectangular screen. Turns out to be the intro titled "Widows Peak" a poem, by vox Josh Ramsay...The last show I covered was Evanescence in 2017, also at this venue. That was a few weeks before I lost my voice for two months...Losing my voice and not being able to sing or talk, was more damaging to my soul than not being able to walk. Once my ears finished popping from the high decibel level screams, the sound of solid harmonies were coming through. Three shadows appeared in spotlights below a riser with a drum kit, the screams got louder. The band hit the stage and their harmonization was pretty good, only issue was that lead vox Josh Ramsay's microphone sounded a little louder than the rest of the band. It could have very well been the arrangement of the track and his mic is to be intentionally louder. Vocals started off a little rocky, there were some pitch issues when he tried to hit those higher notes. As the set progressed so did Ramsay's vocals, when the pipes warmed up, he actually had seriously fantastic range and pulled off some fairly slick runs in high falsetto. Very impressed, definitely exceeded all of my expectations out of the gate and the light show was transcendent.
Of all the Canadian front men I have seen rock a stage in the past few years, Ramsay hands down is in the top five! MT was giving the audience their monies worth, with Ramsay jumping and flying all over the place, into the crowd and using every inch of the Sony Centre stage. All while managing to keep most of those notes on point and continuously entertaining the ecstatic fans. It was a good mix of people, super fans, kids, parents, couples, friends and the cutest couple ever was in front of me. The boyfriend was signing and dancing along with his girl the whole set and knew every word, it was too cute! I have never seen a cis gendered male so into a pop show before. No droning on, lets keep it rolling...Recap, already jibbered about fabulous vox Ramsay, let's chat about the string boys for a quick minute.
As mentioned above, I have seen Lead Axe, Matt Webb live before. He was quite different solo, there was more personality that came through and a lot more showmanship. This time around he seemed a little shy, maybe he was under the weather at this show but he was quieter. He did have his moments though, you could tell from his facial expressions that he enjoyed playing the tunes for the fans. Bassist, Mike Ayley usually comes off as the serious one, he switched with Webb last night because he came to life! Definitely not that serious when he's on stage, Ayley was wandering around, Bass in hand interacting with Ramsay, getting close to the crowd throughout the set, feeding off of the energy. That is what I like to see, everyone on the stage migrating around and putting on a show. Drummer boy, Ian Casselman had a stand out kit setup, more bands need to put their drummers on a riser. They get lost behind the rest of the band and deserve so much more respect as the keepers of the beat yo! Always will have a soft spot for the percussionists, as I too was a decent drummer.
Many bands are too boring, you don't need crazy pyro or seizure inducing lights to wow an audience, your talent and stage presence should speak for itself. Those who put on a show to remember every time, are those who stand out from the pack from day one, you need to fucking entertain them! If you don't feel the need to give the people a reason to pay for tickets and buy your music, get another job. Everybody wants to be rich and famous for doing nothing these days, it is the era of influencers, plastic people and idiots doing stupid shit for followers in hopes of fame and fortune...I'm glad that actual talent is easier to discover today though, a few years back in my A&R scouting days, it was hard! We only had Myspace and a baby Youtube to look for non local musicians, aside from hitting live shows daily. Although very fun, it was time consuming and occasionally frustrating, especially when they would request specific artist types. For example; one of my artists was signed to Warner, so my opinion mattered a lot to A&R boss. He would send me random artist types to find for various labels, and one request was for the now defunct J Records. They were searching for a Katy Perry or Paramore type, it pissed me off. Why do they want replicas all the time instead of originality? Still has not changed with the majors, they still kill your love of music with the business. "Start the trends, don't follow them", has always been one of my mantras.
Can honestly say, Marianas Trench definitely have their own musical style, having carved out a signature sound over the years of crafting their music. You instantly know from Ramsay's unmistakable vocals, that it's an MT track. Even though I am not too familiar with all of their music, his voice is unique enough and very distinct. From never having seen this band live ever, ( that I can remember) to seeing them appreciating their music and fans, has solidified the Canadian pop powerhouse's legacy in my opinion. The crowd increased in volume with every tune played in the eighteen track set, the loudest reaction was when they dropped the track "Who Do You Love", it was insane I had to leave for a minute! Dying of thirst, I went out to grab a drink but nope, the bar was closed...Not even a bottle of water in sight. That should never happen at any venue, the bar should always be open, even when alcohol isn't being served. Why pay people to stand around doing nothing, when you could have kept the cash flow going by having refreshments available for the entire event. Back in I went, empty handed and thirsty to watch the rest of the set from close to the soundboard. If you have never seen Marianas Trench live, try to grab a few tickets and go have some poptastic fun! MT is currently on tour across Canada, and I'm sure they'll be touring in support of "Phantoms", around the globe soon enough!