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Marianas Trench - O2 Institute 2, Birmingham 02.05.2017

When I heard that Marianas Trench would be returning to the UK, I was both excited and surprised. My inner 13 year old was overjoyed at the concept of spending an evening in the basement of O2 Institute singing along to every track from their 2009 release 'Masterpiece Theatre', but the young adult in me was sceptical – I’d found it difficult to get my teeth into 'Astoria', despite it being a concept album based The Goonies which is quite arguably one of my favourite films. Brushing my concerns aside, I decided to accept that the band had indeed entered a new era and hopped on the train to Birmingham.

Arriving at the venue, I picked up my press pass and gingerly made my way downstairs into Institute 2. Expecting an already packed room, I was surprised to see it was sparse – the crowd seemed to consist mostly of teenage girls, their parents and the odd fan of my age lurking along the bar. Within 20 minutes, the room had filled considerably, but still not to the capacity I was expecting to see.

Kicking off the night were Hertfordshire based 4-piece Club Drive – throw away all the pre-existing stereotypes of the typical boy band, because these guys will blow you away. Bringing clear influences from bands such as Maroon 5 to the stage, they belted out catchy tracks such as their newest release 'Voyager' and my personal favourite, 'Dangerous'. Having already had airplay on Radio 1, I’ll be watching Club Drive when they hit Birmingham next and honestly cannot wait to see what’s in store for these guys.

When the lights dimmed and Marianas Trench took to the stage I was startled to see them decked out in a combination of clothes that could be described as interesting at best. Not my usual style, but the crowd loved it, cheering ecstatically when lead singer Josh whipped off his sequinned cape and performed the entire show clad only in a black chain tie and a pair of pleather trousers that left little to the imagination. But underneath the bright lights, flashy clothes and impressive dance moves, I was disheartened to realise that the show left little to be desired.

The tracks were insipid and seemingly monotonous, the crowd interaction predictable and repetitive. The band members slogged through the set at a glacial pace, while Josh ricocheted between them, trailing his mic stand like a toddler dragging their favourite toy. See through instruments, combined with excessive backing track and the whole band’s image gave off a tacky and cheap vibe. Comments such as ‘We break hearts, not laws’ were flippantly thrown across the room between songs, causing me to wince in distaste.

Despite performing tracks such as 'Desperate Measures' and 'Fallout', Marianas Trench failed to win me back after this night. On the train home, I listened to 'Masterpiece Theatre' back to back, and pondered where exactly I felt it had all gone wrong. Changing your image as a band is never a bad thing – but I can’t help but feel like they’ve taken it to far.

Photos & Review - Sutcliffe Photography

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