It is nice to finally be able to see a band that you love after a four plus year drought. Living for the last four and a half years in a city that does not seem to get many of the semi-successful bands to play live, does not help. I am talking to you, Kansas City. Although, I should say that there was lack of support from the major alternative station in Kansas City, which I am sure played a factor in choosing tour date cities. I drove to both St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri to get my 30 Seconds to Mars fix. Before that, I had seen them in Boise, Idaho (don’t ask) and NYC. Now that I moved to Dallas, Texas, the opportunities to see some of my favorite bands are plentiful. 30 Seconds to Mars and Middle Class Rut had two dates at the House of Blues in Dallas. Yes, two tour dates. I am being spoiled, and I only had to drive five minutes to get there.
I attended the January 23, 2011 sold out tour date at the House of Blues. I had never been to a House of Blues venue, so I was a little apprehensive as to what to expect. I was used to seeing 30 Seconds to Mars in smaller venues, but the band has a much larger fan base now, so I expected to not have such an intimate experience with them. I was pleasantly surprised that the floor was pretty small. I could see the balcony from the floor, but not how many seats or far back the balcony may go. When getting tickets for the show, the seats in the balcony went fast. The decor in House of Blues is very Southern, and the stained glass pieces above the stage representing different religions was cool. The stage was not large. I would gladly see any concert here over the Palladium.
Middle Class Rut (MCRut) is a band that I was familiar with because the local alternative station in KC, 96.5 The Buzz, has some DJs that liked them. Other than that, I had no clue. The day of the concert I checked out a couple of their songs just so I was familiar with their sound. When they got onstage, I did not realize that it was a two-person band, a guitarist and a drummer. Color me impressed. The sounds that two people can make with two instruments is pretty astounding. Both MCRut members, Zack Lopez and Sean Stockham, contributed to vocals on the songs. Their sound is kind of comparable to Jane’s Addiction, probably because Zack Lopez’s voice is similar to Perry Farrell’s voice. I am going to guess that they gained some fans during this tour. I would definitely seek them out again for another concert. The song “New Low” is still stuck in my head.
30 Seconds to Mars (30STM) is currently comprised of three band members, Jared Leto, Shannon Leto, and Tomo Milicevic. Bassist Matt Wachter left the band in 2007 for Angels and Airwaves. 30STM uses a touring bassist currently who is not put into the spotlight on stage. Instead, Shannon Leto and his drumset have been moved to where a bassist usually stands, stage right. Shannon’s drumset is unique as it is covered in black and white pictures of the echelon, the street team for 30STM. The set for the concert was simple. There was a large triad at the back of the stage that would turn different colors and light up. The triad is the symbol for the the group during the third album promotion.
Do not ask me about the setlist for the show. Three different times during the show, Jared Leto asked everyone to move up, which scrunched myself and everyone around me. I did end up closer to the stage by the end of the show, but I was also much closer to everyone around me than I wanted to be. Jared also encouraged a mosh pit to ensue behind me. That was fun. Jumping was also encouraged which enabled me and people next to me to be humped many times while trying to jump. Two of my friends came with me to the show, both are shorter than me (I am 5’11”), one of them much shorter. I feared for the shorter one’s life, but ended up being able to pull her in front of me a few times. I lost track of the other friend halfway through the show.
I do not remember any song from their first album being played. I found this unusual since every other 30STM concert I have been to, they have played “Buddha for Mary.” They played several songs from their second album, A Beautiful Lie, including “From Yesterday”, “Attack”, “The Kill”, and “A Beautiful Lie.” The focus was on their most recent album, This is War. Some of the songs that I can remember them playing are, “Night of the Hunter”, “Kings and Queens”, “This is War”, “Hurricane”, “Closer to the Edge”, “Search and Destroy”, and “L490”. Jared did do some of the songs acoustically while Shannon and Tomo took a break. I captured a video during that period, as it was the only time I was not being jostled around. Shannon also did a little musical interlude by himself on guitar. The last song performed was “Kings and Queens” and considering it is my favorite song off of This is War, I was really looking forward to the live experience of it. Before the song started, Jared started picking people in the crowd to come up onstage for the song. Chaos ensued, and I was part of it. Luckily, one of my friends got chosen to go up on stage. I was thrilled for her. After Jared was done picking people in the crowd, he said that anyone who crowd surfed to the stage could come up as well. That is when legs and arm aplenty came toward me and I was almost knocked to the ground. Thanks, Jared! At some point, the song started, but it was not easy to tell from where I stood. The best part of the song is the beginning, so I was disappointed.
Reading this review, you may think I am old and crotchety, and I should probably stop standing on the floor for a rock concert. Noted, but I should say that I enjoyed the hell out of it. At some point, I just let go and went with it. I had never been to a 30STM concert like this one. The band has definitely grown to a larger fan base. I can no longer hang out with the band after a concert, get autographs and pictures with the band. I do mourn the fact that I won’t have opportunities like that anymore without paying $250 for a meet and greet. Been there, done that, and Jared bought me dinner. I am happy for the band to reach the masses and have the success that it always wanted to.
Both 30 Seconds to Mars and Middle Class Rut put on great concert for the masses at the House of Blues!
I give this 30 Seconds to Mars and Middle Class Rut show 4 “Triads” out of 5.