Photo by Jayson TeigChevelle, 30 Seconds to Mars

Murat Egyptian Room Friday, Feb. 28

30 seconds to mars

It was a mixed bag at the Murat on Friday night, and an evening that was more than a little puzzling.

Opening act 30 Seconds To Mars outshone headliners Chevelle, despite the latter's reputation for putting on outstanding shows, and also despite the fact that Chevelle's songs are, in general, much more interesting than 30 Seconds To Mars' material.

30 Seconds To Mars rode the charisma of lead singer Jared Leto, perhaps better known as an actor (My So-Called Life, Fight Club) than a musician. He has all of the requisite rockstar moves down pat: the anguished look, the hair flip, the between-song patter.

Playing material from their self-titled debut EP, 30 Seconds To Mars combined hard-rock stylings with outer-space references. Their EP was co-produced by Bob Ezrin (The Wall), and there's more than a bit of old-school, Floyd-like bombast in their more spacey tunes.

With a little road experience and maturation, 30 Seconds To Mars could become one of the more interesting groups on the alt-rock frontier.

Chevelle hails from Chicago and brings a Midwestern sensibility to their hard-rock offerings. Not too heavy, not too light, not too metal, not too punk. They straddle genre lines for a living, and have been quite successful at it.

Unfortunately, it also means that they have a lot of constituencies to please. It's hard to hit all of those bases in a 70-minute set, and Chevelle didn't.

That doesn't mean they sucked, however. Far from it. They certainly pleased the crowd, and their Tool-like numbers caused plenty of headbanging.

Much more complex musically than 30 Seconds To Mars, Chevelle's music is full of energy and verve. It's just that their stagecraft hasn't yet caught up with their musical ability.

Part of what makes a rock show successful is how well a band can captivate a crowd. Although their skill levels are high, and their songs good, Chevelle isn't yet in a league with the great live bands of their time.

That's not an indictment; the band could still get to that level. They're not there yet, though, which explains why 30 Seconds To Mars were better-received.

Hopefully, Chevelle will bring a stage act next time that's a match for their material.


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