30 Seconds to Mars

The Howlin' Wolf

March 06, 2007

BY JASON SONGE


I was listening to the first Sunny Day Real Estate record the other day, and as far as the vocals go, I can see why people say they invented emo. All you need to hear is the way that lead singer Jeremy Enigk's vocals change from self-pitying mope to helpless screams. So, how did we get from Sunny Day Real Estate to 30 Seconds to Mars, a currently popular emo band? That's what I was trying to figure out before their packed show at The Howlin' Wolf Tuesday night. I didn't have to do much thinking because the PA mix did it for me--Deftones, Incubus, At The Drive-In...

Let's move onto the concert. 30 Seconds to Mars is a band from L.A. that features actor Jared Leto on vocals. At the show Leto made sure to mention that he and his brother, drummer Shannon, were born in Louisiana and grew up in Bossier City. Cool little tidbit.

Leto owned the crowd from moment one. As a good actor, you'd expect him to be a good frontman. And you'd be right. Leto seemed to bathe in the crowd's adulation. He controlled them and acted as if the stage was the place he was most comfortable. Leto reminded me of Dave Grohl in the way that he shamlessly and awesomely played up his role as rock star. Both men aren't afraid to show the crowd they're self-aware. They both expect you to know that it's a rock show and that they want you to have a "moment."

Leto was a taskmaster. He admonished the crowd when they weren't as loud as he wanted them to be. He was a pretty good singer who encouraged the crowd to take over the vocal duties a few times. The band rocked out for a while before Leto did a two song solo set, after which the band came back.

Everyone's eyes were pinned on Leto, but the most interesting member to me was Shannon. He was such a violent and volatile drummer that I barely expected him to be able to pull off simple rolls because he was so all over the place. He reminded of Fred LeBlanc, if he had a metal fixation. I was waiting for this guy to break his wrist or get a cymbal through his head. To no avail, though.

30 Seconds to Mars isn't my cup of tea personally, but they put on a great show. It was great to see a popular rock and roll show in New Orleans. We, or I, need more unabashedly rock and roll shows here.


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