Thirty Seconds To Mars | 05.04.10

The entire time, it was clear that the band adores their fans and vice versa.

The Pageant, St. Louis MO

The Brothers Leto must have balls as big as church bells. Why else would they tour with two powerhouse supporting acts like Neon Trees and MUTEMATH? The latter is particularly renowned for their dynamic live shows yet Thirty Seconds To Mars has brought them along, knowing full well that they have to follow them on stage each night. Yet even after MUTEMATH drummer Darren King surfed his way through the crowd on his floor tom, the audience erupted when TSTM took the stage.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Neon Trees deserve a lot of the credit for whipping the packed house into a frenzy. Mohawk-coiffed frontman Tyler Glenn stalked the front edge of the stage while his band pounded out thunderous dance rock, even paying tribute to local legend Chuck Berry with a slick cover of “Johnny B. Goode.” The band closed their set by walking off stage one at time, while the remaining members carried out a hypnotic rock groove, until only bassist Branden Campbell and drummer Elaine Bradley were left and they eventually sputtered to a halt amidst wild applause.

From there, things ratcheted up a notch when MUTEMATH took the stage. Darren King didn’t mount his drum kit as much as attack it, pausing only briefly to tape his headphones to his head before sitting down and flat-out erupting on the drums. Vocalist Paul Meany led the band through a mix of hits from their eponymous debut album and the recently released Armistice and closed the set with a head-over-heels version of “Break.” Literally: Meany did handsprings over his keyboard while King dismantled his drum kit only to end up riding it like a raft upon the heads and hands of the audience while the rest of the kept the beat on anything they could strike with a drumstick. Quite a spectacle.

Which is why I felt myself wondering how in the living hell Thirty Seconds To Mars were going to top it. Well, it helps when you take the stage to the tribal pounding of a dozen drums behind a translucent white curtain. And when Jared Leto screamed his first words of the evening, the curtain dropped and a blast of white light smacked their rabid fans in the face. Not a bad entrance, but it only got better from there as Leto prowled the entire length of the stage sporting a giant pink Mohawk and leather jacket. He worked the crowd effortlessly, and even played a few guitars and waved a spotlight around while doing it. Meanwhile, the band pounded and wailed as strobe lights and blasts of synth bass assaulted the senses. The entire time, it was clear that the band adores their fans and vice versa. Hell, Shannon Leto’s drum kit is covered in photos of fans!

So yeah, TSTM can hold their own. Sure, it helps when the singer is a former teen heartthrob and you have enough more lighting gear than NASA but the band simply kicks ass and that’s what really matters. | Corey Woodruff


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