Thirty Seconds to Mars
HOLYWOOD star Jared Leto is one of only a select handful of actors who have forged a credible career as a musician, developing his dual professions side-by-side since forming Thirty Seconds to Mars 20 years ago with his drummer brother Shannon.
Slowly, they have scaled the commercial heights to arena rock success and have fully embraced the bombast – and budget – which comes with that station on their current Monolith tour, an impressive in-the-round set-up with fans waving branded flags in the crowd well before the brothers hit the stage running.
Unsurprisingly, Leto makes for a charismatic frontman. The Oscar winner, known for his method acting, threw himself into his rock star role with regulation indoor shades, a fine tartan trenchcoat and maxi kilt and a volley of standard instructions to the crowd to make some noise, get their hands in the air and suchlike.
He is a sufficiently decent rock hollerer, though with a tendency to push his voice too far. As for the music, it was broad, banal anthems all the way, generally buoyant and rousing in tone but peppered with a degree of cosmetic angst and tooled up with a preponderance of wo-oh choruses lustily taken up by the crowd.
The resonant piano cover of Rihanna’s Stay was easily the most memorable track in the set, while their own big ballad Rider provided the best showcase for Leto’s voice. Hurricane was more of a mild pop rock zephyr and proceedings threatened to drift during City of Angels before charging up again when Leto strapped on a guitar for the grungey Conquistador.
At times, the show felt more like a bland rally than a gig but, as Leto jogged circuits round the stage, working all sides of the room, one had to salute his commitment to keeping energy levels high and ensuring that his audience were part of the party. The performance was far more fun when the shades were discarded and you could see how much he was enjoying himself, even indulging in some rock’n’roll pantomime by orchestrating a Mexican wave and posing for selfies with the fans he invited onstage.
The gig ended on a sanctioned, decorous stage invasion with Leto wearing a bra thrown from the crowd. His earlier declaration that “we’ll never forget this night as long as we live” had sounded premature and perfunctory but as it turned out this enigmatic actor wasn’t so earnest and contrived after all.