Blue October and 30 Seconds to Mars bring Xmas to Indy

Unsurprisingly, 30 Seconds to Mars brought an outstanding performance to Indianapolis as part of their recent Christmas tour. Indianapolis radio station X103’s holiday show at the Egyptian room was sold out, packed with enthusiastic fans and opened with impressive local band Standout Story. Following them was an incredible performance by Blue October. The headliner for the evening, 30 Seconds to Mars, was just as amazing as you might expect. Local to Indianapolis, opening band Standout Story brought an energetic start to the evening. The four-piece band identifies their style of music as pop-punk but, to me, they had a grunge meets metal meets modern alternative rock sound which was unique while still being very modern and with the times. The instrumentals had a forceful power to them, and the vocals brought a striking but impressive contrast. Most of their songs were originals, but their cover songs were just as good, the standout being their performance of Awolnation\’s song “Sail.” The original was a softer, more melodic sound with an electric emotional energy to it while Standout Story’s version was very different, maintaining the softer vocals, but backing it with deeper metal sound kept that electric energy but gave it a unique feel. There\’s something to be said about remaking a song and maintaining its original quality. However, there\’s something amazing about taking an inspiring song and remaking it into something totally different while still bringing that same level of intensity. Standout Story hit that head on. Some people may not have been expecting much from Blue October but they ate their words as Blue October brought a moving and inspiring performance. This five-person band which originated in Houston definitely creates a gripping sound and brings a performance worth seeing. Their biggest hit, \”Hate Me,\” is a well made and intense song that sketches a picture of a pained life full of addiction and regret but with recovery. While it is a powerful song, it doesn\’t quite give the listener a good feel for how powerful the rest of their music is. Hearing their other work live gives you a completely new impression of them as musical artists. They have a type of music that ties itself to your soul; connecting you to how they feel through sounds and lyrics. Violinist Ryan Delahoussaye almost stole the show, owning the stage by crossing back and forth and grabbing the attention of the audience with his movements and skilled performance. I did say he almost stole the show, lead singer Justin Furstenfeld took it away with a deep and veracious performance, engaging the audience by walking part way out into it and singing directly to audience members. This was a brilliant lead in to the headliner 30 Seconds to Mars. Their show was definitely a crowd pleaser, and they brought an engaging and lively show. Their show was very interactive, pulling people up on stage, releasing giant balloons, and drawing reciprocated energy from the audience through Jared Leto\’s requests. Lead singer and guitarist Jared Leto most definitely dominated the stage, commanding attention from the audience with his interactive performance style and magnetic persona. He had an idea for how the evening should go, and he was pretty set on it. His idea was to make it a night that his fans would remember their entire lives — he may have nailed that goal. He even went as far as to stop songs part of the way through to change something that wasn\’t going right. He definitely wanted it to be a perfect evening. Several of the songs during the set were Jared Leto solos, where he was alone on stage with an acoustic. This was a very mellow addition to the evening, giving it a very intimate feel. The venue, The Egyptian Room, lent itself well to the intimacy with its dramatic art and romantic lighting. Leto led the audience through singing the song \”The Kill\” accompanied by his acoustic guitar. Hearing such a passionate song performed that way certainly made an impression. The show ended with a bang, bringing over two dozen audience members on stage to join in the performance of one of their newer hits, \”Up In The Air\”. Covering the crowd of enthusiastic fans with confetti and finishing the show on a high note. -Natasha Nisewanger