30 Seconds to Mars at the Fox Theater Pomona Last Night

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
30 Seconds to Mars
Jan. 14, 2011
The Fox Theater Pomona


This weekend, the illustrious Fox Theater Pomona was host to Jared Leto-fronted alternative band 30 Seconds to Mars. It was Saturday night, and the band didn't fail to disappoint. These guys are bad. Not Roger Corman, Ed Wood or Daniel Johnston bad. Those guys were bad enough to be considered good in their own way. Sadly, Leto and Co. just aren't good.

The most musically inspiring moment of the evening may have been when Leto's older brother Shannon hopped behind his large, reverb-heavy drum kit and busted out a thunderous solo. But things went downhill immediately after, when, against a backdrop of Klieg lights aimed in the eyes of the audience, the younger Leto emerged from the wing with arms outstretched, striking a Christ-like pose in front of the band's massive triangular logo. 

The rapturous screams of females aged pre-teen to soccer mom drowned out every ambient sound in the room. Because of the harsh lighting, which largely obscured each band member, only fleeting glimpses of Leto and company were possible. But from those few brief glimpses, it was clear he was sporting eye-doctor style shades and what looked like the tattered remnants of a furry gorilla suit. 

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
​Throughout the set, with the bearing of a trained actor, Leto spouted a series of mandates and retorical questions such as "Everybody jump," "Get the fuck up," "I love you so much, Pomona" and  "Are you ready to fuck shit up?" Each was repeated with enough frequency to sound extremely rehearsed. 

Then there was the music. 

As mentioned earlier, these guys don't sound like a school choir beating hundreds of cats in unison with pillow cases full of soap bars. They play and sing on-key and maintain cohesion and high energy. But the super-distorted guitars and ambient keyboard sounds combine with Leto's overwrought, melodramatic moaning and wailing to create annoying, amorphous soundscapes with few memorable hooks.

​Toward the end of the show, Leto stood alone onstage, armed with only an acoustic guitar, and sang several stripped-down numbers, including "100 Suns" from 2009's This Is War. Aside from Leto displaying no musical finesse as he banged out the chords on his guitar, the song is saturated with overwrought lyrical clichés. He repeated the refrain ad nauseam: "I believe in nothing/I believe in nothing/Except the truth of who we are." 

During songs such as "This Is War" from its eponymous release, Leto rocked the electric guitbox. But there was something about the way his instrument dangled awkwardly from his neck as he spun in circles and danced without playing. Though he didn't strike any bad chords, his instrument looked more like an accessory than a musical tool. 

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
​Let it not be said Leto doesn't engage the audience. In fact, he singled out individual members in the crowd like a cult leader. At one point, he demanded a spotlight be shined on a young man sitting in the balcony; he wanted to know why the man wasn't standing. Leto also exhibited a vacant, wild-eyed stare as he scanned the audience.

Though the venue was weighted in favor of the female sex, there were plenty of dudes there who sang along to every word. Couples embraced and passionately made out during the melodramatic numbers, their arms draped softly around one another's necks. And when Leto stood atop the barrier, he was groped about his crotch for at least a minute by countless up- stretched hands. It was weird. This is definitely music geared toward the masses. And quite mediocre. But since when does mediocre music not appeal to the masses?

Random notebook dump: One girl was holding up a sign that read, "Go Pre!" in large letters. If you haven't seen the 1997 biopic about the Olympic runner starring Leto, do yourself a favor. This is a good one. Makes you wish Leto would go back to doing what he does well. Plus, it has the drill sergent from Full Metal Jacket.

Overheard: "I love you, Jared," from the ladies in the audience.

The Crowd: Largely female. Young and old. And more than a few young people of legal drinking age. There were a few fathers there, too.  Some of them were dancing awkwardly. Like I said: weird.

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17 comments
A_Fan
A_Fan

Wow, you are bitter!!!! Do I smell a failed musician? 30STM is one of the few truly unique bands to emerge in the 21st century and they possess an abundance of talent and creativity. You shouldn't disrespect what you clearly do not understand!!!!!

A_Fan
A_Fan

Wow, you are bitter!!!! Do I smell a failed musician? 30STM is one of the few truly unique bands to emerge in the 21st century and they possess an abundance of talent and creativity. You shouldn't disrepect what you clearly do not understand!!!!!

Wacki Way
Wacki Way

Either the writer is incredibly old, unhappy with his/her life, listens to crappy music, or most likely all the labove...but this article is bull shit! 30 Seconds to Mars is one hell of a good band!!!

Lewis
Lewis

Lol what a prick. 30STM are the biggest band in the world and I've been a fan since they were nothing to you or anyone that listens to mainstream crap, which you do. Their first album is one of the best metal albums of all time, 2nd is THE best hard rock album of our generation and it's only sold 4m copies because 99% of people nowadays only buy electro hip pop shit which is destroying music. This Is War is not even close to being a good 30STM album, because if you listen to the 1st two this is a huge let down other than Kings & Queens.

Whora_flames
Whora_flames

30 seconds to mars are one of the biggest rock bands in the world they win every award going, with sold out world tours, so maybe your the shit one? not them? maybe your just jealous because 3 people have amounted to this much success whilst you still write a shity blog

Noël Jean
Noël Jean

Ohw yes... LETO AND CO. ??!! Dude! That's just wrong! It happens too much already, this band has 3 members and their name simply is 30 SECONDS TO MARS ;) I just HATE it when they are called "Jared Leto's band" or some other stupid shit! There, I let it out :p

Noël Jean
Noël Jean

This sure sounds like a MARS gig, but unless you're an ECHELON, I guess you just don't get it!I've said it before, I can understand this point of view, but the energy and AMAZING drumming and guitar play are not to be trashed! These men are VERY talented! And "100 suns"... If you don't get it, don't even go there, cuz that song is absolutely amazing and we ECHELON get it ;)

Child_of_Satan
Child_of_Satan

What a load of crap! Are you a twat in you're 60's. Seen 30STM twice this year and they were amazing!! Best live band for a long time, hands down.

Will J
Will J

Okay guys, heres the thing. I'm Echelon as well, but it's time to see that people can have opinions about the band. That's including you Echelon, it's okay to admit they weren't the best live. It's okay to admit that the Hurricane video is a hollow sham attempt by Leto to bring them to controversila fame. They arent the same band I fell in love with back when 'This is War' was first released. Its okay to admit that, even if it feels like a massive cult.

Musicpunk30
Musicpunk30

Stop bad mouthing the band AND us Echelon! We will fight to the death!! Cuz u kno wat u just did? U made this be war!!!! Fuck off non believers! WE ARE ONE BIG HAPPY DISFUNCTONAL FAMILY! WE ARE THE ECHELON!

David
David

Sundance 2011 be there

autumn nichole
autumn nichole

so first things first, the fox theater, isn't the best venue, especially for THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS (not leto and co). the lighting sucks there. the venue is horribly ran, they're so disorganized it's rediculous. you say weird? we (the echelon) say normal. jared leto is full of surprises. his outfits to his hair styles, are not "normal" as you would say. but to us, it is normal. and honestly, since i've been an echelon for quite some time now, i don't get surprised by jared leto anymore. this is the fourth time i've seen them live, and each time. is just as great.

Isabel Vicente
Isabel Vicente

when we have so much anger inside us, as you seem to have, my friend, even the stars in the sky at night are a bad thing, cause probably don´t let you sleep...At least you tried to disguise it, with some sarcasm, but i must warn you, that was even worst, than your real despise for that band, looks awfull to whom reads "this" that you wrote, you know? next time, try to make some efford to be a little bit more bright instead of "light" (i mean gossip, whatever you call to this). That would be a real work, that probably would had some usefulness for the community. But don't loose your hope, just keep on trying!;)

Isabel Vicente
Isabel Vicente

when we have so much anger inside us, as you seem to have, my friend, even the stars in the sky at night are a bad thing, cause probably don´t let you sleep...At least you tried to disguise it, with some sarcasm, but i must warn you, that was even worst, than your real despise for that band, looks awfull to whom reads "this" that you wrote, you know? next time, try to make some efford to be a little bit more bright instead of "light" (i mean gossip, whatever you call to this). That would be a real work, that probably would had some usefulness for the community. But don't loose your hope, just keep on trying!;)

janelle30
janelle30

I don't think you know wtf your talking about!!

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