There’s a certain air of expectation when a band performs in a country for the first time.
After 11 years of existence, Marianas Trench landed in Australia for the Fat As Butter Festival in Newcastle and two days later, graced the stage of the Corner Hotel. It was their first headlining show on our shores, and they tackled it with great aplomb.
While they’re fairly big in the USA and in their homeland of Canada, they haven’t made a particularly big impact on Australia’. Still, they’ve amassed a loyal following of Trenchers – the term especially fanatical Marianas Trench fans use to describe themselves.
The line outside the venue reflected the long wait Melbourne’s Trenchers had endured. Crowds were literally lined up around the block even as supporting band For Our Hero started their set.
The Melbourne-based six-piece performed a mix of songs from their debut album Strange Days, and managed to get the audience interested in their rocking brand of pop, including a cover of fun.’s ‘Some Days’.
It was reminiscent of Punk Goes Pop songs, and although it wasn’t a total write-off, vocalist Jay Taplin just couldn’t match fun. frontman Nate Ruess’ vocal gymnastics, with back up harmonies falling short of the mark.
In addition, their talking breaks ran a bit long, testing the patience of those who were awaiting the appearance of Marianas Trench. For Our Hero played an otherwise solid show, rounding off their set with ‘Don’t You Dare’.
Marianas Trench were something else. Some fans present had been waiting for over a decade, and the Canadians did not disappoint. After a cacophony of pre-recorded bells and whispers, lead vocalist Josh Ramsay crooned the opening notes to ‘Ever After’, the first track from their latest album. The reception was rapturous, and for the rest of the night, the audience was captivated.
With glitter adorning his sweeping, two-toned fringe, Ramsay looked like he had been transported straight from 2007, the year of the skinny jeans and ‘emo’ hair. The other members, including drummer/back-up vocalist Ian Casselman, were decked out in military-style coats. Even those who might have been put off by the hair couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement of those crowd members who were seeing a favourite band for the first time.
Once or twice, the sheer volume of the crowd’s sing-a-long made Ramsay stop singing to exchange grins with lead guitarist Matt Webb and bassist Mike Ayley.
Their banter was quick, light-hearted, and they occasionally expressed surprise at the great turnout, while at other times, tested out their Australian accents. Not infrequently, the members would stand right on the edge of the stage, allowing those in the front to reach out and touch them.
Songs were mostly taken from their two newer albums Ever After and Masterpiece Theatre, but ‘Shake Tramp’ from 2006’s Fix Me album did make an appearance, much to the delight of those who were in a dancing mood.
They topped off the night with a rendition of ‘Cross My Heart’, possibly the perfect end to an extremely impressive show. Hopefully, now that they know they can draw a decent crowd, the boys from Marianas Trench will return to Australia – and it won’t take another eleven years.