LIVE: 30 Seconds To Mars @ Phones 4U Arena, Manchester (24/11/2013)

Date: November 24th, 2013
Venue: Phones 4U Arena, Manchester
Support: You Me At Six


Upon the huge success of third studio album ‘This Is War’, through which its tour cycle brought to 30 Seconds To Mars an entry into the Guinness World Records for most live shows (with 300 shows) during a single album cycle, it’s fair to say that follow-up effort ‘Love Lust Faith + Dreams’ had a lot to live up to. Now deep into the tour cycle of said record, which already saw the band perform slots at festivals like Download, what they were to bring to the table in a live setting is a huge point of attraction.

Opening up throughout the tour and acting as the band’s only support act, British rockers You Me At Six (***) are just over a month away from releasing their hugely anticipated fourth full-length, ‘Cavalier Youth’, and though they’ve been in hiding for almost a year now, the cheers throughout hits like ‘Loverboy’ and the sea of fans shining their phones during ‘Crash’. Look into new material ‘Lived A Lie’ sees one of the biggest reactions of their entire set. What’s more, frontman Josh Francheschi can surprisingly pull out some half decent gutturals in one of their heavier offerings, ‘Bite My Tongue’. So long as it’s not a disaster, expect ‘Cavalier Youth’ to catapult YMAS to new heights.

Despite what (at best) have been nothing but lacklustre and terrible performances at festivals like Download Festival, it appears that, in their own headline setting at least, that 30 Seconds To Mars (****) can translate their message and the atmosphere they aim for with far more precision. Instead of offering the crowd to sing along to 90% of the lyrics throughout the set, frontman Jared Leto actually takes ownership of songs like ‘Night Of The Hunter’ and ‘Convergence’. In a darker and more enclosed space, the extent of the band’s stage production can truly flourish and the added spectacle of balloons showering the Phones 4U Arena a few songs in and acrobats offering short intervals through the set bring extra treats to the eyes.

However, the crowning moment 30STM‘s set comes midway through with a few acoustic renditions of ‘Hurricane’ and ‘The Kill (Bury Me)’, the latter of which being the only cut not taken from the band’s two latest records. The inclusion of Rihanna cover ‘Stay’ is a strange and unrewarding addition to the mix, however. Bringing some fans onstage for closer ‘Up In The Air’ is something the band are known for overindulging in at festivals, but in moderation like this it brings a nice touch to proceedings.

Speaking from experience, 30STM are a band who are far more grand and towering in stature at their own show than at festivals, an environment where they should be avoided where possible. Tonight, the Leto brothers and Tomo Miličević prove why they’re one of the more desired live acts around today, offering a fan experience not many bands can even compare to.

Written by Zach Redrup