30 Seconds from becoming the best in rock

30 Seconds to Mars will be the biggest band in the world. Coupled with the strength of their music, these four rockers are the most tenacious, gracious and downright deserving guys on the music scene. Hard work and the awesome caliber of their second record, A Beautiful Lie, have earned 30 Seconds to Mars their first national tour as headliners.

After traveling the globe opening for bands such as The Used and Audioslave; 30STM is in their rightful slot. Their sold-out concert at the Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale was undoubtedly a sign that the “Mars Army” is mobilizing, moving forward and taking new recruits in every city it storms on the “Forever Night Never Day” tour.

Storming the stage amid smoke and flashing lights, 30STM was set to kill. Regardless of Jared Leto’s other career as a movie star, this band is the real deal. Bassist Matt Wachter and drummer Shannon Leto emphasized the group’s dedication prior to the show, and backed it up onstage. Shannon hammers away on the drums in a style reminiscent of his hero John Bonham, and Matt’s solid bass work keeps this rock and roll steam train hitched together. Tomo Milicevic’s flawless fretwork provides a surplus of muscle to the band’s sound. Jared Leto can rip too, and their heavy metal dual guitar solo during “The Mission” fired on all cylinders. 30 Seconds To Mars is a no B.S. rock act, and they have the chops to prove it.

As a frontman, Jared Leto is fantastic. How many Hollywood A-listers will dive head-first into a crowd of frenzied fans? Only one, and Jared works a crowd like he commands their attention on screen. There is nothing scripted about his stage raps however, and the enraptured fans he plays for happily return the energy he exudes. After chatting with 30STM it’s easy to see why their fans are so loyal, and it goes beyond music.

Whether discussing amplifier secrets with Tomo or tour bus etiquette with Matt and Shannon, the guys are down-to-earth and one with their fans. 30STM are a total class act. They stayed after their show for hours to meet every fan and sign hundreds of CDs and take photos. Such dedication from a band to fans is unheard of, but that explains the special relationship within what Jared refers to as the “family.” He stated in praise of the fans, “We are dreamers, but you are the believers.”

Although fan reception is grand wherever the group travels, Jared notes a special energy in South Florida. “Miami and Ft. Lauderdale have really embraced us. Florida has been good to us!” Leto feels so at home he recommended the band and all fans “buy homes down here and live together.” That would make for one hell of a rock and roll neighborhood. Great block parties too.

John Heslin can be contacted at j.heslin@umiami.edu.