Marianas Trench took the stage at Asbury Lanes on Sept 6. The show included openers DJ George Thoms and The Unlikely Candidates. Asbury Lanes is well known in the Monmouth County area for its bowling alley, lounge area, and its bar or connected diner, but it’s also a popular music venue. And that night, it was the venue for the Marianas Trench’s show.
A Canadian pop rock band, Marianas Trench consists of Josh Ramsay, Matt Webb, Mike Ayley and Ian Casselman. Ramsay led the vocals and played rhythm guitar for several songs. Webb rocked as the lead guitarist and backing vocalist. Ayley led at bass guitar and backing vocals. And finally, Casselman dominated the drums throughout the concert. Together they harmonized comfortably on stage, enjoying their time with fans.
The band was slated to finish their Suspending Gravity tour in early June but extended it due to popular demand. Before the concert and throughout the intermissions, eerie, almost horror-film themed videos played. Before the band stepped onto the stage, a video of band members was shown, depicting songs featured on their most recent album Phantoms.
According to an interview the band did with Atwood Magazine, Phantoms “revolves around the loss of a lover and the ways in which memories can embody their ghost.” Many songs on the album, as Ayley says are, “like death, but it’s also a celebration of life. It has this creepy feel, but it’s actually hopeful and inspiring.” As I watched the concert go along, I realized that through the eerie films, they were trying to perfect the experience that they felt as a band while writing each song and share it with their fans.
Marianas Trench likes to engage with their audience and vice versa. Throughout the concert, fans screamed encouraging words for the band, and or, screamed for which song they wanted to hear next. Ramsay included a few icebreakers, one being how the last time he came to New Jersey, he had a “little too much fun” and was drunk so he didn’t remember it. He said that this time he would like to remember his time here and laughed.
In addition, the concert had a unique choreography for its lighting. Each song’s tempo influenced the lights’ movements, and every song had a different color scheme, sometimes changing throughout the song as well. At times when it was slower, there would be a blue hue, and at louder points, there would be bright white or red lights.
I had not listened to many of Marianas Trench’s songs before attending, besides their popular songs such as “Who Do You Love” and “Stutter,” but even without knowing all of the songs in their setlist, I found it was easy to fall in love with the trancing rhythm.
Marianas Trench has experimented with their music and does not limit themselves to one genre. Through branching out, they are able to reach an even greater audience and revolutionize the “barriers” that music once had.
Jessica Valiente, publicist for the band believes the band’s life experiences and broadening musical interests contributed to their evolution as artists. “I wouldn’t have ever thought that the band that made ‘Fix Me’ would be the same band to release an album like ‘Phantoms’ over a decade later, but I love that they’re always taking risks and bringing fresh new sounds to the table with each and every release,” Valiente said.
Valiente watched Marianas Trench grow “from being an opening band and sharing a stage with acts like Simple Plan and The Cab to where they’re playing headlining shows at venues like Asbury Lanes and Toad’s Place. This growth has been an incredible and inspiring process to see.” Many of those in Marianas Trench’s fan-base agree.
Angelica Pasquali, a local photographer and fan of Marianas Trench for almost six years, said, “I love that band because even though they grow both personally and musically, they still keep to their values of having music with real depth, compared to most computer-made pop songs, where they showcase their voices and blend it together.”
According to Pasquali, the concert was almost like being in a music video. It was very surreal, and they brought an energetic love to the room.
Before Marianas Trench took the stage, openers DJ Thoms and The Unlikely Candidates also spread their own energetic love to the room. Though DJ Thoms took a few risks by remixing alt-rock and popular rap songs, his transitions through songs were smooth and created a positive atmosphere before The Unlikely Candidates began.
The Unlikely Candidates had an amazing impact on the crowd. Though not knowing their songs, I very quickly came to love and still play in the car the songs: “Violence,” “Novacaine,” and “Oh My Dear Lord.”
Lead vocalist Kyle Morris ran into the crowd several times during their performance; this excited the crowd. At one point, Morris and lead guitarist Brenton Carney harmonized. Morris sang different octaves and told Carney to mimic his octaves on the guitar. They went back and forth almost as if they were quizzing each other on how well they could find or hit the notes. As an audience member, I was fascinated by their talent and enjoyed seeing their interaction. Collectively, the band had a great chemistry and energized the crowd through their jokes and musical abilities.
Asbury Lanes hosted a dynamite show by DJ George Thoms, The Unlikely Candidates and Marianas Trench. The Lanes provided the artists with stellar acoustics and continued their reputation of being organized and ensuring safety for all attendees.
Attending Marianas Trench’s concert was a new experience for me containing a new environment of music-lovers to be around, but it was beautiful. Listening to passionate artists and being surrounded by people who also appreciate the passion is truly invigorating.