Arts

Marianas Trench guitarist promotes solo work in Ottawa

 Photo by Marta Kierkus

If one thing can be said about Matt Webb, lead guitarist of Marianas Trench, it’s that he knows how to rock a crowd. On March 6, he was in town to perform at Mavericks and surpassed fans’ expectations.

It was only the second stint in his three-week Right Direction tour, during which he’s promoting his new EP that was released in February. The venue was packed with girls of all ages eagerly awaiting Webb’s arrival. As soon as he walked onstage, they broke into frantic screaming and didn’t stop until well after the concert was over.

He began right away with one of his newest songs, “Lucky Numbers.” The new songs may only have been released a few weeks ago, but the fans in the room knew all the words and sang along loudly.

The crowd’s excitement only seemed to grow as the night wore on and he performed hit after hit from both Right Direction and 2011’s Coda and Jacket. Webb, who was perfectly at ease in the spotlight, looked like he was having the time of his life performing his own songs.

Mavericks is a very small venue compared to the ones Marianas Trench is used to, and Webb made the most of his proximity with the crowd. He’s naturally charismatic and drew the audience to him as he performed. This certainly contributes to his rising popularity, and the competition was fierce when he asked for a volunteer to come onstage and play air piano next to him during one of his songs.

In an earlier interview, Webb told the Fulcrum he wanted his songs to be very different from the ones Marianas Trench usually performs. This is why his songs are simpler and have a more organic feel. He fed off the crowd’s energy to give a stellar rendition of his albums, singing and rocking the electric guitar.

At the end of the show, he came out in the room to meet his fans and stayed there until every person had left. Being so close to Webb rendered more than one person a little giddy, but he took it in stride, and had a smile and kind word to say to every dazed fan that came up to him.

All in all, it was a great time. The opening acts, which consisted of Jessica Lee and Fake Shark-Real Zombie! did an excellent job of warming up the crowd for Webb’s show. You need to see him live to understand the Matt Webb phenomenon. It was a show where the main act could sing, play guitar, joke with the crowd, and make every last person in the room feel special — certainly a show worth seeing.

MATTWEBB