30 Seconds To Mars - Manchester Academy 2 - 31.1.07

"Are you here for the band upstairs? Yes. What do they sound like? I dunno, it's Cameron Diaz's ex boyfriend"....believe it or not this conversation was actually happening as Designer Magazine walked into the venue tonight and was typical of many that were here tonight. 30 Seconds To Mars are an unknown quantity for much of tonight's audience despite being two albums into their career and that centre's around their frontman Jared Leto, who with rarely venturing out to a cinema Designer Magazine's wikipedia search reveals is an actor who's starred in American Psycho and Fight World and more interestingly is playing John Lennon's assasisnator Mark Chapman in forthcoming film Chapter 27.

While much of tonight's audience would class this as emo music, but what we hear is more akin to the sound of British Rock bands Bush and Vex Red in the late 90s. With his brother Shannon on drums this is a family affair, which perhaps reflects on the lack of diversity in the material, and while Jared is a consummate frontman with vocals on tracks such as the acoustic driven "Till Infinity", the lack of songs leaves us feeling cold. For every song such as "The Kill", a song which is even better than the new single "Attack", there's a lot of filler which really needs work on.

Certain actors have made the transition from the movie theatre to concert halls such as Juliet Lewis, but Jared Leto despite our lack of Barry Norman style film knowledge will always remain an actor first and foremost despite us willing the band on more than we have since we last saw Fightstar. There's some great songs here, enough to make a truly great EP, but when a one hour live set is comprised of the best cuts of 2 albums and most of it leaves all but a small crowd down the front impressed its time to have a rethink

Alex McCann

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