At The Orpheum on Saturday, December 18
If you’ve ever been to a dog show, you’ll understand the basic judging. The best dogs are determined by how close they come to the standard. If Marianas Trench’s performance last night was picked apart using the same guidelines, the Juno Award–winning Vancouver quartet would have been crowned top bitch for its brand of cookie-cutter pop.
As for the openers Jakalope, it’s hard to know what to call the band’s performance, but clusterfuck seems to fit the bill. On ”Dusk Til Dawn”, grinding feedback raped our ears and interrupted the song twice. That wasn’t the only offending moment of the set, with tinny sounding instruments barely matching up to lead singer Chrystal Leigh’s shrill voice. It was bad enough to make Metallica’s St. Anger sound like a well-recorded masterpiece. Even the rendition of ex-lead singer Katie B’s hit “Pretty Life” was a dull rehash of decidedly stale-dated mediocrity. It’s a shame that the kids in the audience were too young to afford—or obtain—the drugs needed to get through Jakalope’s industrial waste.
The absence of narcotics at a Vancouver concert wasn’t the only shocker either. We spotted a baby wearing earmuffs, a 20-something man crying and rubbing his face to the headliners, and an army of preteen Marianas’ marionettes singing along to every Trench song.
The screaming band delivered everything that the screaming fans wanted, but you got the feeling that the assembled would have cheered if the group’s members had banged on pots and pans with their frozen testicles. “Say Anything” was a crowd favourite with singer Josh Ramsay seemingly in his element as he pranced around the stage like a spastic praying mantis. The rest of the band had impeccable chops, aside from a pointless and repetitive drum solo by Ian Casselman.
Halfway through the set, Jonathan Simkin from 604 Records ambled on stage to present Marianas Trench with a garishly framed Canadian platinum record for selling 100,000 of its latest, Masterpiece Theatre. It’s no American platinum, but the band must be doing something right; after all, how many other local bands do you see headlining the Orpheum? Undoubtedly, much of that success was a result has been due to the hit, “Shake Tramp”.
It was unsettling seeing the song performed live though, mostly because of the eerie chanting of “They slap you like a bitch and you take it like a whore,” by girls that didn’t look old enough to know what a period is. What was even more fucked up was the number of oblivious moms taking it all on the chin; it’s hard to believe that there was ever a time when the Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together” could cause parents to throw a shit fit. Maybe Ramsay won them all over with his pop wail or maybe it was his pursed lips, either way he had the audience’s members screeching like prepubescent teakettles.
The whole scene seemed better suited for somewhere like the Croation Cultural Centre or the PNE Forum. Having the show at the beautiful Orpheum theatre seemed like bringing a King George Highway hooker to the Four Seasons. I guess when a working girl like Marianas Trench works as hard for what she’s gotten, she deserves to dick around wherever she damn well pleases.
Watch Marianas Trench perform "Cross My Heart" at the Orpheum on December 18.
Watch Marianas Trench perform "Lover Dearest" at the Orpheum on December 18.