Despite making one of the most important emo albums of all time, A Beautiful Lie, 30 Seconds To Mars tends to get left out of the conversation. They went for a more progressive sound as time went on and began to twist and contort their sound into something that barely resembled A Beautiful Lie. For better or worse, that’s the definition of growing as an artist and frontman Jared Leto is no stranger to change as he leads 30 Seconds To Mars back to Manchester for the first time in 6 years. 

Jagwar Twin acted as the only support and regardless of the quality, it was certainly unique. Jagwar Twin is a solo project that seems to be inspired by the likes of Twenty One Pilots and you can really tell early on with the brooding dark tone and rapped vocals which feels appropriate for this show considering 30 Seconds To Mars’ more recent leaning towards electronic pop. 

Jagwar Twin

There is some clear Maneskin inspiration on tracks like ‘I Like to Party’ and ‘Loser’ which give the set some variety but a lot of it is really strange and awkward upon first experiencing the music. The vocalist was dressed in a long coat with tails and a set of cargo shorts which probably added the confusing aesthetic.

Many bands don’t translate well upon first listening and require relistening with different perspectives to fully appreciate them, which may just be the case for Jagwar Twin. It’s worth mentioning that Jagwar Twin performed a partial cover of ‘Wonderwall’ and it takes a special kind of act to perform that song in Manchester and have absolutely nobody singing along. 

Jagwar Twin

Jagwar Twin ended the set with a truly baffling track which utterly blindsided me. ‘Bad Feeling (Oompa Loompa)’ is a track that feels built to be a TikTok sound and very little else, it’s an awkward chorus that works perfectly for social media thirst traps. Listening to it as a song feels weird and the goofy dancing on stage doesn’t help it. It’s clear this act isn’t for me but it was at least interesting and I’d still recommend it just to experience something new. 

The massive triangular screen eventually revealed a countdown from 100 and rapturous applause was present for the numbers 69 and 30, the latter being when the band finally revealed themselves amongst the crowd. The band raced around the arena to ‘Closer to the Edge’ before taking their rightful spot on stage to play ‘Up in the Air,’ a Kerrang TV-era staple carried beautifully by the gargantuan drumming of Shannon Leto. 

30 Seconds To Mars

30 Seconds To Mars’ best material largely comes from their arena rock eras of tracks like the aforementioned ‘Up in the Air’ but it’s best exemplified in masterfully anthemic ‘Kings and Queens’ which saw several thousand people joining together to scream their lungs out with this glorious connection through music. ‘Kings and Queens’ is a song that personally makes me feel like I could climb a mountain and the crowd made me feel like I’d have an army backing me, it’s incredible and worth the price of a ticket alone. 

30 Seconds To Mars

While frontman Jared Leto is known for his work as an actor on Hollywood blockbusters like Morbius and Suicide Squad which require some restraint and quiet dedication to create, he flourishes on stage with his massive personality upstaging all the lights, pyrotechnics and bedsheets he wore on stage. ‘Hail to the Victor’ featured pyro which you could feel everywhere in the arena. If you want to make a lesser-known track feel epic then just add fire, it’s guaranteed to work every time. 

30 Seconds To Mars

Jared has been criticised over the years for phoning it in on 30 Seconds To Mars’ live performances but it seems like he’s found his groove lately. He’s certainly not perfect and you can feel him get tired and struggle at times but perhaps his breaks from demanding roles like Dallas Buyers Club have given him time to focus on improving as a vocalist. Jared focuses more on being a showman as he pinballs around the stage to mega-hits like ‘Rescue Me,’ the brooding intensity of ‘Hurricane’ and the primal war cries of ‘This War,’ which saw Jared lead out a mighty roar that I genuinely didn’t think he had in him. 

30 Seconds To Mars

A Beautiful Lie is almost 20 years old and even at the time, some of those songs were nearly impossible to sing without mutant lungs and ‘From Yesterday’ could be the most difficult of them all. Jared gives it his best shot but he seems to recognise his limitations and lets the audience do a lot of the work which is fine considering it’s a killer chorus designed to destroy vocal chords. Jared still made his best efforts but he has backing from his brother Shannon on drums who gives this track the bombastic kick that a track as massive as ‘From Yesterday’ deserves. 

30 Seconds To Mars

They followed up with ‘Attack,’ a certified master class in arena rock songwriting. The simplicity of the choruses make it easy for the uninitiated to learn and for the seasoned 30 Seconds To Mars fan (myself) to go absolutely ballistic as Jared belts “Run away, run away, I’ll attack”. The song makes for a phenomenal ending to the set as the band takes a break for the encore. 

30 Seconds To Mars

As we waited for them to come back, the crowd began to sing the vocal hook of ‘Kings and Queens’ unprompted, a dazzling moment that will live in my mind as one of the most amazing moments in live music I’ve ever witnessed. The band returned to the stage and quickly blasted through ‘Stuck,’ not a particular favourite of mine on the album but it went down really well in a live context with the pounding bass and catchy hooks.

30 Seconds To Mars

The show ended with one of 30 Seconds To Mars’ biggest singles: the classic iconic emo hymn ‘The Kill’. ‘The Kill’ is a song that beautifully builds tension, makes twists and turns and ultimately culminates in a grandiose payoff much like The Shining, to which the music video pays homage to. This song is full of so many memorable riffs and hooks that it becomes overwhelming and even the most entry-level of emo fans will find themselves wailing the maudlin choruses and hooks. Part of me was dreading hearing this because I couldn’t imagine Jared attempting the scream but not only did he attempt it, he absolutely nailed it. 

30 Seconds To Mars

30 Seconds To Mars finished their set with the full version of ‘Closer to the Edge’ and invited as many fans as they could on stage. With thousands of people singing in unison, 30 Seconds To Mars ended their set having filled Manchester with songs that have been important to me and many others. 30 Seconds To Mars may be a controversial band to some but most people are forgetting the most important part about the band making music and touring, it means Jared doesn’t have to be in Morbius 2.

30 Seconds To Mars
30 Seconds To Mars
30 Seconds To Mars

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