With Marianas Trench, Walk Off The Earth, & Kieran Mercer
Date: April 8, 2016
Venue: Pacific Coliseum
City: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Highlight: Josh Ramsay‘s sass
Reviewed By: Desiree Mark
It was our pleasure to welcome Marianas Trench and the rest of the Never Say Die Tour back home to the beautiful city of Vancouver. After all, there’s nothing like playing to a hometown crowd to send off a long tour with a bang! There was about to be a party at the Pacific Coliseum because after all ‘There’s No Place Like Home‘!
Starting off the evening were hometown friends and 604 label mates of Marianas Trench, Kieran Mercer. There’s something so inspiring and refreshing about witnessing a band out of their first stadium tour. The gratitude and utter passion and excitement is infectious to watch. Kieran Mercer rocked through his set of moody, and hook filled tracks, capturing the attention of the anxious audience with insta-hits like ‘Hey, Stay‘ and ‘Bang Bang‘.
Next up was recent (and we mean very recent, like less than a week ago recent) 2016 Juno winners for ‘Group Of The Year’ Walk Off The Earth. The stage was set to the flicker of hanging incandescent bulbs while a haunting and intriguing voice over filled the stadium. Smoke shot up from the stage sporadically, making me feel as though I had teleported into The Lion King’s Elephant Graveyard.
Walk Off The Earth gained YouTube super-stardom overnight with their cover of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know‘ in which WOTE wowed the Internet with there ambitious and charming version that had all members hands on deck, playing different parts of a single guitar… impressive. Well, after witnessing it in person, I can vouch for the fact that this feat was even more impressive in real time. The showmanship didn’t stop there, every time I turned around WOTE had pulled something new out of the musical instrument tickle trunk.
Another set highlight was undoubtedly when the band joined together armed with a colourful array of “whirly tubes”, an unusual and haunting sounding wind instrument. In perfect harmony Walk Off The Earth played my new favourite rendition of the tragically overdone “Hello” by Adele, almost making me feel as though I was listening for the first time.
Next up was the moment to make Van City proud, Marianas Trench, Vancouver locals, and a band that is constantly putting Canada on the international musical map. Over my years of reviewing and photographing shows there is a small handful of artists that excite me every single time they step foot on the stage. Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay graces this list of prestigious entertainers.
Overwhelming the stage as soon as he steps foot on it, and not stopping for a single extra breath the entire set, this man is an entertainer through and through. Not only is he full of sass which I find so endearing, as the whole crowd witnessed when he called out some girls for making him a sign, saying “I see your sign, I acknowledged it, now put it down so the people behind you can see.” Before quickly commenting on not being able to turn down the sass and promising them a personalized hand made macaroni sign next time around.
He backs up his sass with an incredible display of musicianship and songwriting skills, playing a ton of his own guitar, then slowing it down and jumping on the piano for the heartfelt song ‘One Love‘, as well as constantly hitting impossible highs with ease and strength, nearly screaming out the words to ‘Astoria‘ near the end of the set.
It’s not just Josh though, he’s backed by 3 other incredibly talented musicians consisting of Matt Webb on lead guitar who never stopped smiling the entire time, Mike Ayley on bass laying down the signature groove behind the catchy-as-f%$* tracks, and perched high up on Mt. Percussion was Ian Casselman who not only killed it on drums but also stepped in as “the rapper friend” in ‘Pop 101‘, who would have thought?
The visual interest and appearance of the entire show also must be mentioned, from the bold 80’s rocker vibe costuming, to the colourfully lit backdrop, to the impressive display of guitars including transparent neon lit ones, and others designed to mimic old Cadillacs, the stage design and visuals were spared no details.
From the beginning to the end, the night was full of surprises- from the moment Josh jumped right down into the crowd, and paraded around the entire floor area.
“I’m going to put a shirt on now, because I just walked through a crowd of crying girls with no shirt on…. AMBER ALERT.”
To a display that’s as graceful as it is charmingly awkward when Josh is swept from the stage into the air where he flips and flaps above the (at this point) frantic audience. Nearly touching down to kiss the top of one lucky fans head.
Overall the night was one big welcome home party, and last hurrah for The Never Say Die Tour! I left the show aspiring to one day be not only half as talented musically as the boys in Marianas Trench, but also look maybe half as majestic as Josh did in that black sequin crop top behind a wind machine.
Be sure to check out the full photo collection from the tour here.