If someone had told me a week ago that I would spend my Friday night at a 30 Seconds to Mars concert and that I would enjoy it, I probably would have laughed at them. What can I say? The emo hard rock just isn’t my scene. If it hadn’t been for the fact that Jared Leto himself was handing out comped tickets to the show, I never would have bothered.
But we stuck around and the experience ended up being much more pleasant than I would have anticipated. The show started promptly at 7 pm, like it said on the ticket, which is always nice. First to take the stage were “Street Drum Corps.” They can be described only as the perfect mix between Slipknot and Stomp. They got the crowd going with their infectious beats. It’s been half a day and “Knock Me Out” is still in my head.
I was sure they were going to be the favorite of the night until Mutemath took the stage. As soon as the drummer taped his headphones onto his head, I knew it would be interesting. Musically, they were the most Top 40 friendly, but still interesting. The members of the band switched instruments for most of the set, going from drums to guitar to keytar to piano to something that from what I could tell was a Guitar Hero version of a sitar. If I hadn’t already been sold on them, they would have gotten me when the lead singer flipped over the piano and then started jumping up and down and playing it with his feet. And then the drummer took the floor tom crowdsurfing to boot. All in all, it was a really fun performance and earned them a fan in me.
Sandwiched between Street Drum Corps and Mutemath was Neon Trees, who were forgettable but not bad. To round the night off, were 30 Seconds to Mars. Several things struck me while watching Jared Leto perform. For one, he sounds a lot like Bono when he’s not screaming. He has a much more deep sound than you would expect coming from him. Secondly, for a scrawny looking emo kid, he has impressive stage presence. And finally, despite the fact that he was sick as a dog, he totally rocked that show, shredded vocal cords and all. He also gets major points for going around giving people free tickets and taking pictures with fans in that state.
It was a long and varied set, ranging from rowdy rock that made the mosh pit bounce to more mellow tunes that brought out the lighters in the crowd. The Street Drum Corps even made a few cameos throughout the night. The performances were punctuated by fun interaction with the audience. Funniest line of the night came when Leto singled out someone in the audience with a bowl haircut and said “I used to have that haircut. I gave it to Zac Efron.”
Arguably the best part of the show was when Leto and his pink mohawk disappeared from the stage only to pop up at the back of the arena with an acoustic guitar. He took requests and changed the whole feel of the show from a high energy light and music extravaganza to something much more intimate. He started playing “The Kill,” the only song I knew, acoustically. Then the band joined in and he raced through the crowd to the front of the arena and sang the rest of the song from the bleachers.
Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable five hours and I was glad to have been given the chance to take part in it. They promised a good time and they delivered.