Thirty Seconds to Mars:
30 Seconds to Mars have been lurking in the background of mainstream music for over ten years now, supported by a huge fan base and colossal musical style. The group's epic style can't be categorized by one genre of music and falls somewhere between progressive and alternative rock. It's this electronic, alternative, indie rock sound that has built 30 Second to Mars a huge fan base at tour dates around the world (known as The Echelon) and created three hit records. While the group's members haven't even confirmed that they'll make another album, there are plenty of tour dates in 2011 to keep fans satiated.
In 1998, brothers Jared and Shannon Leto began playing together and writing songs in their spare time. With Jared playing rhythm guitar and providing vocals and Shannon on drums, they were soon joined by Kevin Drake on lead guitar (although he was replaced by Solon Bixler before the recording of their debut album, and later by Tomo Millicevic). The band continued to be merely a hobby for the group's members as they played local tour dates throughout Los Angeles. In 2001, the group was rounded out with the addition of Matt Watcher as a bassist, keyboardist, and the group's signature synthesizer.
After playing tour dates around Los Angeles for years, 30 Seconds to Mars were signed to Virgin Records in early 2001. They released their self-titled, debut album in 2002 and was full of sci-fi themes, emotional lyrics, and a hard rock sound. The album received great reviews and reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. 30 Seconds to Mars reached the next musical plateau with the release of their second album, A Beautiful Lie, in 2005. The album produced four hit singles that received play on radio stations and tour dates; most notably "The Kill," which became a fixture on radios and television. The group's third album, This is War, was released in late 2009 but almost wasn't released at all, due to a lawsuit by Virgin Records. The album marked a change in 30 Seconds to Mars' sound, which was darker with a new wave infusion. The singles "Kings and Queens" and "This Is War" were both popular and both reached #1 in the Alternative Songs charts.
With three successful albums out, fans are curious as to when an announcement of new music will come. To relieve some of the anxiety, 30 Seconds to Mars has plenty of international tour dates in 2011, including concert dates at some of the summer's biggest music festivals. The first concert date is on May 22 in San Juan, Puerto Rico and will pick up again on June 4 in Chicago. Music festival tour dates in 2011 will include Novarock in Austria, the Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands, the Hove Festival in Norway, the Highfield Festival in Germany, and appearances at the Reading and Leeds Festivals. Regular tour dates will occur primarily in European nations like Italy, Greece, and the UK, with a June 15 concert date in Paris already sold out.
Walk the Moon:
“It’s okay to play,” insists Nicholas Petricca, lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist of Ohio quartet Walk the Moon. It’s a hard point to argue after a listen to the lead single off their album I Want! I Want!, dance-rock extravaganza “Anna Sun.” I Want! I Want! has you dancing quickly. Very quickly. So it is no surprise that the response to the band has been just as immediate. Surrounding a reactive SXSW appearance, the band has already been featured as Nylon Magazine’s Band Crush, as a Hot New Band by SPIN Magazine, as a New York Post band “You Must Know,” and in the Spotlight of Last Call with Carson Daly. Walk the Moon is poised for an explosive rise.
Walk the Moon shows are nothing short of electric. Petricca, with bassist Kevin Ray, guitarist Eli Maiman and drummer Sean Waugaman, (all Ohio natives) streak, dot and smear their faces in paint before every performance. Eager crowds predictably join in the fun and by the end, even the most staunch skeptics are in the colorful mix. Respected regulars in the Cincinnati and Columbus club scenes, the boys, all in their early twenties, have garnered notable respect from fans and bands alike in their first few ventures to major markets. Walk the Moon combine impressive musicianship with what the New York Post deems their “unrestrainable love for performing.” It is a truly contagious mix.
Matching what NME’s Jaimie Hodgson called “air strike choruses” with careful songwriting, Walk the Moon are dynamic - noticeably more than a “buzz band.” They cite Talking Heads, The Police and The Killers as inspiration, both in writing and performing, not to mention a tribute to Bowie with a thumping rendition of “Let’s Dance.” I Want! I Want! is thoughtful and youthful at once, a perfect reflection of the band. Walk the Moon may very soon grow out of the clubs they play now (they’ve already sold out in advance of their first headlining New York show), but they are a band you don’t want to grow up all the way. After all, they possess an enviable spirit, one devoted to just plain having fun. And who doesn’t like fun?