30 Seconds To Mars At Belsonic

7 10 2011

Here’s a reprint of my 30 Seconds To Mars review that ran in Hot Press last month…

30 Seconds To Mars at Custom House Square, Belfast

Picture the scene if you will. Former teen heartthrob turned bona fide rockstar Jared Leto is striding around the stage clad in what can only be described as a cape that makes him look like some sort of emo super-hero (the Incredible Sulk, perhaps…?). The venue is sold-out, the crowd are up for it and all in all, we’re expecting Belfast’s first time with 30 Seconds to Mars to be a memorable one. Sadly though, despite a fairly energetic first fifteen minutes that sees them run through solid stadium favourites such as ‘Escape,’ ‘Search And Destroy’ and more as large inflatable balls are released into the crowd, Jared and Co.’s brand of rock turns a little soft as the singer whips out his acoustic guitar to treat us all to an extended solo session letting the the rest of the boys retreat backstage to update of their Facebook pages.

While the likes of ‘The Kill’ for example are genuine, goose-pimple inducing anthems on record, performed solo in such a large, open-air venue it just sounds rather drab and lifeless. Leto tries his best to include the crowd though and hauls a few lucky punters up to join him, but the momentum is lost and it doesn’t matter how many times the singer tells us he’s “part-Irish,” (snore) it’s pretty clear that he’s blown it.

Still, at the front of the venue the singer and actor’s acolytes’ adoration remains undiminished throughout the set and the show closer ‘Kings And Queens’ (which features the full band and various members of the crowd) is a proper festival “moment” that ends the gig on a high. They say you always remember your first time and on this occasion that’s certainly true. Sadly though, it’s for all the wrong reasons…

Edwin McFee