Review: Marianas Trench at the House of Blues

On Tuesday, February 2 I saw Vancouver-based band Marianas Trench at the House of Blues in Boston.

Ever since Tuesday, February 2 I have not been able to concentrate on school, work, friends or family. I have, however, been able to concentrate on Josh Ramsay, the 6’2” and incredibly sassy frontman of the band. Ask anyone I know. I have not been able to complete one sentence without dropping his name into it.

This is an unusual phenomenon for me, seeing as I hadn’t once uttered his name until after that Tuesday. You could say that’s the best part of my prior experience with Trench. I’ve been a fan of the band for a couple of years now, but I never cared to know too much about them. It was their music that brought me in and made me stay, and when I bought the tickets for this show back in October, I went because I wanted to hear their beautiful four-part harmonies, not because I wanted to stare at four hot guys all night–that was just a bonus.

Sure, the people behind the music are important–without them none of it would exist. But when the music is able to stand on its own so strongly? That’s pretty cool. If someone like myself had enough faith in Trench to go buy tickets and go to a show trusting that their talent would hold up the way it does through a pair of headphones, that’s the highest of compliments. I’ve been to many concerts in my life, and most of them were because I wanted to be in the same room as the performer. With Trench, I wanted to be in the same room as Josh’s falsetto. 

I left wanting to take Josh, Matt Webb, Mike Ailey, and Ian Casselman with me, but that’s a different story. Now I can’t stop watching videos of them on YouTube.

Marianas Trench is at the end of their Hey You Guys! Tour, which started in North America at the beginning of November and culminated on the 14th of February. The tour name, inspired by the 1985 film The Goonies, is indicative of their most recent album, Astoria, which inspired Josh creatively while making the album. He wanted to make a record inspired by the 80s with songs that would have been popular if they had been made during the time. 

Josh definitely embraced the character when he walked onstage shirtless, his eyes circled by black makeup, his shaggy blonde hair falling around his face, wearing leather pants hanging further south on his torso than Los Angeles is from Vancouver. 

Let’s talk about Josh for a second. Frontmen are frontmen for a reason. The man puts on a lot of personalities for the fans–many of them would look at his Twitter and think that he is cold-hearted and distant. The Josh I saw couldn’t have been happier to be where he was. He called us all beautiful, asked us what “wicked pissah” actually means, and told us he likes us in a completely platonic sense, seeing as he hasn’t met any of us. He even made the point to connect to each one of us individually, and I’m 93% sure he pointed at me in the fourth row and looked into my dewy eyes at one point during the night. 

For someone who lets his fans in so deeply through his lyrics, there is a mutual respect and trust between him and the audience. He knows what they want and they know what he wants. As a slight outsider to the full extent of the fandom, it was beautiful to watch. 

I wish we had gotten a little bit more out of the guys other than Mike putting on a bra that an audience member had tossed onstage. But their performances spoke for them. Matt and Mike proved that their harmonies are the power that make Josh’s vocals even stronger. Ian is a drummer who doesn’t make a big deal out of his drumming. 

The boys sure know how to put together a good setlist. There was a good balance from each album, with an obvious lean towards songs from Astoria. I personally think Ever After is their best album and was glad that they performed at least three or four songs from it. At one point Josh did a solo with just him and the audience and pulled out Skin and Bone, a track from their first album. The song hasn’t been done live in years and was a treat to longtime Trench fans.

I’ve been to many shows in my life, whether they be arena or standing room only, and Marianas Trench swiftly found themselves in my top three. I went in expecting good and got better. I have no doubts that the night will stick with me forever (or at least until I get to see the band again).