30 Seconds To Mars @ Cardiff International Arena – 21/02/10

After suddenly acquiring a spare ticket to see 30 Seconds To Mars at the CIA I text a few mates to see who was free to come with me last minute…needless to say I made someone’s day when I sent that text. The queue was full of excited and impatient girls all talking about the one and only Jared Leto and how ‘lush’ he is. Joining the back of the queue I begin to get that exciting feeling that you can only have when you go to see a live band.

First to grace to stage was hardcore rockers LostAlone who quickly got the crowd pumped and the venue swinging. Bassist Alan Williamson was very eager and played to the crowd on top of an amp for most of their set while lead vocalist and guitarist Steven Battelle rocked out ‘Standing on the Ruin’ with drummer Mark Gibson.

Next to entertain the Cardiff crowd was Street Drum Corps who pulled-off a rather surreal performance. Arriving on stage, adorned with gas masks, were drummers followed by eccentric front-man Bobby Alt who resembled Prodigy’s Keith Flint. The punk/experimental rock band stunned the audience with their undeniable stage presence and their weird mixture of genres, sometimes all in one song. Nonetheless, the people of Cardiff showed them love.

Singing from behind a black veil Jared Leto belted out ‘Escape’ and as the curtain fell there he was sporting a mohawk. His new style fitted in perfectly with the band’s new rebellious themed album ‘This Is War’ and the recent lawsuit with their label Virgin Records. The band then launched straight into one of their new songs ‘Night Of The Hunter’ followed by two classics ‘Attack’ and ‘From Yesterday’ from the iconic ‘A Beautiful Lie’ album. Next, Jared Leto decided it would be a good idea to play a few acoustic songs from the balcony! And he was right; the crowd loved it and were screaming song names when Jared asked for requests. As if this wasn’t enough the band continued the set on a second stage at the back of the arena where they performed one of their best-loved singles ‘The Kill’ as the mosh-pits emerged. For their first encore, yes first, on the original stage the haunting melody of ‘Stranger In A Strange Land’ poured from the speakers. The band’s second and final encore saw their new single ‘Kings&Queens’ being blasted with Jared bearing a motorcycle helmet decorated in gold and jewels as the crowd were invited up on stage.

As drummer Shannon Leto and guitarist Tomo Milicevic threw their drumsticks and guitar picks out the adoring fans there was a surge of people as everyone fought to catch a piece of memorabilia. The lights come on and everyone slowly filters from the arena and as I walk home I start to feel the bruises from the mosh-pits, crowd surfers and generally being crushed…all signs of an amazing gig.

Jade ‘Killer’ Kinsey

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