LIVE REVIEW: Marianas Trench, DiRTY RADiO @ Riverside, Newcastle (06.11.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Midweek gigs often carry the weirdest energy: it seems they’re always either packed with kids who’ve come straight from school hyper on fast food, or business people still in their work clothes heading straight for the bar. Sometimes, though, you get a midweek gig that eveyone is just so damn excited for, the entire venue takes on a vibe that’s inexcusably TGIF. Enter the Canadian pop rock band whose presence has apparently eluded Newcastle for a decade: Marianas Trench. Considering they’ve never been officially released in the UK, there was certainly a healthy crowd gathering in anticipation by the time I made it to the venue (although the extended queue were so distracted by the doors opening that most missed the whole band walking right past the venue until it was too late).

In the smartest move I’ve ever seen at a gig, the evening was well a truly kicked off with a DJ set which featured mash ups of all of the biggest alternative hits from the past 20 years. It united the multigenerational audience in a cringe-tastic singalong session. Considering their recent reunion, My Chemical Romance’s I’m Not Okay segueing into Toni Basil’s Hey Mickey was a particular treat. Main support was from fellow Canadians DiRTY RADiO, with a set as fun as their typography choices. Combining pop, R&B, electronic dance and rock, this Vancouver-based duo were incredible to watch. Unlike a lot of these types of performers, you could actually see as each instrument was played and contributed to their sound. I’ve never been clubbing in Ibiza, but I imagine this is the sort of thing that would chime well over there.

Of course, the tension was palpable as the crowd awaited Marianas Trench, and their excitement was certainly not in vain. Despite casually waltzing onto the stage, the four-piece soon dominated the compact club venue with enough energy to fill an arena. Since it’s been such a long time since they’ve been in the region, Marianas Trench treated us to a mixed bag of tracks for this setlist. Kicking off with latest album Phantoms’ opening numbers Eleonora and Only The Lonely Survive was an ideal choice: the harmonising alone between all members was enough to make this evening feel special. The haunting melodies of Phantoms contrasted from the earlier pop of Stutter or Pop 101 – both definitely brought more fun, upbeat rhythms to enjoy. Even relics like Desperate Measures, All to Myself, and Cross My Heart – mid-noughties, old school emo tracks which helped cement their popularity across the pond – were welcomed with open arms for this nostalgic crowd.

Every track was truly performed to their audience with respect and appreciation that meant even I, a newbie to Marianas Trench, felt welcome enough to have a good time. I wasn’t alone, with a healthy 50:50 split in the crowd between first timers and those who came back to see the group again. With a high chance of reoccurrence, we can only hope Marianas Trench don’t leave it so long before they book a third Newcastle gig.


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