Mars attracts thanks to Leto

With frontman Jared Leto's recent acting successes, the Thirty Seconds to Mars gig at the acoustically challenged Challenge Stadium was always going to be about more than just the band.

As soon as the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club star stepped on stage with his older brother Shannon on drums and Tomo Milicevic on guitar and keyboard, the moderately sized but enthusiastic crowd couldn't contain itself. It's not often a genuine superstar visits our sleepy little town, especially one with such great hair.

The Californian prog rockers are masters of balance and since the Leto brothers formed the band in 1998 they've managed to fit in four successful albums and one stellar film career. The two feats feed off each other, which was evident in Jared's banter on stage at the first show of their Australian tour.

Night of the Hunter and the title track from their 2009 album This is War came early in the night and got both old and new fans in fits.

Releasing massive balloons into the crowd was a great idea until they hung around the stage for the next couple of songs and blocked any vision of Jared - this made the group of girls standing next to me pretty upset. They then tore into the more synth-reliant tracks such as City of Angels, from their 2013 album Love Lust Faith + Dreams.

When the band left the stage (not that anyone noticed) and Jared brought out his acoustic guitar, things got strange. Disappointingly, he played tunes such as Hurricane and The Kill from their breakout 2005 album, A Beautiful Lie. While the full band experience for those would have been better, they gave the crowd a chance to hear just how good a vocalist Jared is and how much on-stage charisma he has.

By bringing some humble Perthlings on stage, including a boy and his father, the main Martian made some nights and probably a few lives.

Final track Up in the Air was muffled by Jared's relentless desire to bring people on stage. At first it was endearing, then it got annoying, but you wouldn't say that to his perfectly sculpted face.

British post-punk rockers White Lies started the night off well. While not as active on stage as Thirty Seconds to Mars, tracks such as Farewell to the Fairground and Death showed the emerging stars have what it takes to pull a crowd in their own right.

The West Australian

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