30 Seconds to Mars, Neon Trees at The Fillmore, Detroit

The venue was packed. After hearing of how 30 Seconds to Mars tends to sell out in so many other cities, it was no wonder (though this was no sold-out crowd). After some delays in getting my press passes, I arrived inside only to see the first band finishing up. They were a local opener that I was unfamiliar with. Thankfully I had not arrived much later, Neon Trees was up very promptly next.

When Neon Trees took the stage the crowd almost seemed to know who they were, it was as if they wanted to more than they did. I do believe a good share did, just not as many as should have. Neon Trees is a remarkable young band on the scene. I was anxious to see them play after having absorbed as much of their music I could in the previous months. Their single “Animal” first being known to me around January of this year, though their full first album was not released until March. Their show did not disappoint. The incredible energy of their frontman running from one end of the stage to another, all the while coming keeping up on his vocals and making stops at his keys to play in a few notes. Their drummer was a showman, herself, frequently raising a stick in the air while she filled in the rest with the other hand and available pedals. They maintained their exuberance throughout, giving this show everything they had. I await the day they headline their own show.

Once finished, there was a hefty waiting period as the preparations were completed for the next band. Unfortunately this next band could not be Mute Math. They had to drop the bill due to “scheduling conflicts”. Sounds like a bunch of rubbish to me… but these things happen. In any case, they long wait resulted in 30 Seconds to Mars coming up next. They dropped down a giant curtain and scrambled to complete all the changes in a timely manner. Once it was finished, the room went dark, except for one light: a spotlight.

The spotlight illuminated Jared Leto as he stood behind the curtain with arms outstretched… he stood there as other lights began to illuminate behind the curtain and then suddenly the curtain dropped and the music began. The force of it was impressive. While I was not a huge fan of the band before this night, I was quickly impressed with their emphasis on the show. I almost felt as though the music became secondary as the lighting took over. Such movement on the stage and the music was in full swing, but I was completely mesmerized by the lights. So many of them, so many different patterns, for each song, for each mood…

As the show progressed, so did the lighting. For one song, he even pulled out a torchlight and shone the beam of light at the crowd as the stage darkened. It certainly emphasized the mood of the place. It was impressive to me, who is so visually swayed. I can’t go to shows these days unless I have the ability to photograph them. I am visual to a fault, and this set was certainly right up my alley. Ask me how they sounded? I have no idea. I think it was good. But the lights… the pretty lights… I still look back at my pictures from that night and appreciate them all over again. I listen to their songs and see the lights now. Perhaps there is just an energy about their music so strong, it has to be released in lights as well as sound. Or maybe I just really liked the pretty lights.