On Saturday, Sept. 25, mtvU’s Campus Invasion tour made its first stop at the UCCU Events Center. The concert featured bands 30 Seconds to Mars, New Politics and locals Neon Trees.
The concert opened with New Politics, an alternative rock group from Denmark. Its three members, David Boyd, Søren Hansen and Poul Amaliel, blend the sounds of rap verses, reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine or the Beastie Boys, with pop melody choruses, not unlike the Plain White T’s or Jimmy Eat World. Each song was played with energy and enthusiasm, mostly expressed through lead singer Boyd. During the bridge of one song, Boyd abandoned his mic all together to do some impressive break dancing.
When asked about the influences on their music, guitarist Hansen replied that while they feel influenced by Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, they listen to pretty much to everything.
“I even love Lady Gaga,” Hansen confessed with a laugh, “A good song is a good song.”
Boyd and Hansen met about four years ago and started writing songs before an actual band was formed. In 2009, with the addition of drummer Amaliel, the band signed with RCA Records. In regards to their fame, Hansen emphasized that even though most of their songs contained political undertones, they didn’t want to be considered a political band.
“Politics is a part of everything,” Hansen stated. “It’s hard to avoid.”
Coming on stage after New Politics was local band Neon Trees. Made up of four members (Tyler Glenn, Chris Allen, Branden Campbell and Elaine Bradley) the band calls Provo home. They opened for The Killers in 2008 and in 2010, their first single “Animal” ranked #22 on Billboard Hot 100 chart.
While more successful than previous band New Politics, Neon Trees seemed unable to match the Danish band’s energy, falling ?at at times. Lead singer Glenn had the unfortunate luck of never seeming remotely sexy while being overtly sexual. It was disappointing for a band back in their stomping grounds to perform so apathetically.
The last, and most famous, band to perform was 30 Seconds to Mars. Made up of brothers Jared and Shannon Leto, along with guitarist Tomo Mili?evi?, the group has won numerous awards, including Best Rock Video at the MTV Music Video Awards for their single “Kings and Queens.”
From the moment they started playing, Jared Leto had an electric power over the crowd. He sang with such passion and energy it could not be doubted that he was doing what he loved to do. Throughout the concert, Leto chatted with the audience as if there were only a few dozen people that mostly consisted of his friends instead of the over 10,000 people that filled the events center. At one point, he wanted everyone in the audience to jump up and down, stating, “I will come down there and straighten you out if I have to.”
When the band started playing, he abruptly stopped again and pointed out members of the crowd who were not jumping. He yelled, “You! Guy with the white shirt and your arms folded. What the [expletive] is wrong with you?!”
When he wasn’t candidly chatting with the audience, playing their songs or taking a picture to upload on his Twitter account, Leto expressed his gratitude for every person who loved their music. He frequently said, “Thank you,” with real sincerity. Leto was having a great time and wanted to make sure every person in attendance was having more fun than him.
Jared Leto’s dedication to his fans and his passion for his music was what made the concert one of the best to experience.