30 Seconds to Mars, Mute Math, Neon Trees
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Fox Theater
The audience at last night's 30 Seconds to Mars show at the Fox Theater was overwhelmingly young. Even the lead singer in the opening band, Neon Trees, noticed. During his set, Tyler Glenn asked the crowd, "Who here is barely out of high school?" The response was phenomenally loud.
Neon Trees kicked off the night with a fast-paced set of electro-pop that got everyone dancing. Fans sang along to their single "Animal," which has a chorus that stays lodged in your brain. The real star of their performance was the drummer, though, Elaine Bradley. She wailed on her kit like a blacksmith on an anvil, and she sang back-up vocals too. For his part, Glenn danced around the stage twirling his microphone above his head like a lasso, nearly hitting some of his band members. During their last song, he started frantically gesturing to the side of the stage while singing, and a guilty looking Tomo Milicevic, guitarist for 30 Seconds to Mars, stepped out from behind the curtains to share center stage for part of a chorus before zipping off stage again.
The second band, Mute Math, is a New Orleans-based rock act that stole the evening. Their set was so epic, 30 Seconds to Mars couldn't recover from it.
The first thing Mute Math's drummer, Darren King, did after getting behind his kit was duct tape his headphones to his head, to the delight of the audience. There was a bullhorn strategically placed next to the kit that King occasionally screamed into. Later in the set, he opened a bottle of water mid-song and doused his kit with it, causing giant eruptions of water every time he hit a beat.
The band also had two sets of keyboard rigs, a Rhodes set up center stage, and a dual synthesizer package off to the left. Mute Math's members switched instruments at different points during their show.
The singer, Paul Meany, had such a sultry voice that it made his songs "Chaos" and "The Fight" sing like old jazz standards remixed to a hip, electronic dance pulse. He busted out a keytar for a couple songs, and then swapped it for a strange stylophone instrument that looked homemade and produced alien-like frequencies.