30 Seconds To Mars play surprise Soho Square show

30 Seconds To Soho: a dazzling 'flash mob' set

Photographer:Virtual Festivals

Matt Miles - 30 May 2013

4pm on a cloudy Thursday afternoon in Soho Square, London and many confused faces are starting to circle an ever growing crowd of teenagers. To most here the show has come out of nowhere, Soho Square being a popular destination for people working in the area to have lunch. Out of nowhere a throbbing and excited crowd formed and started singing ‘The Kill’ in anticipation of a surprise acoustic set from 30 Seconds To Mars.

Many die-hard fans had obviously been there all day awaiting this incredibly unique event. When Jared Leto and the boys did finally arrive the excitement exploded into screams. Leto was extremely considerate, funny and charismatic. He tried to move the crowd back repeatedly so that everyone had the opportunity to view this radically adventurous 'impromptu' gig. Unfortunately they had no stage or platform so the bustling crowd meant many attendees had to be content with only audial satisfaction.

30 Seconds To Mars proceeded to play an extremely rare and intimate set. With a couple of acoustic guitars and basic percussion backing the band, they performed stripped down renditions of some of their anthemic classics. Leto asked the crowd exactly what they wanted to hear and it became almost like a busking set, only the busker was a Hollywood superstar and his band - every bit as famous in their own rights.

Even people who did not know 30 Seconds To Mars, who were there by chance, could not help but be moved by such a special and endearing set from these modern rock legends. They sounded great in this setting, which is obviously not one they are used to, tending to play big festival slots or arena shows on tour. Leto seemed to be listening to the crowd and played everything they wanted to hear. During their acoustic version of ‘Closer To The Edge’ he joked that he wanted the crowd to shout along loud enough to wake up the Queen. ‘Kings & Queens’, ‘The Kill’ and ‘Up In The Air’ all got the busking treatment and had the crowd all singing-along. Jared Leto took the chaotic crowd and enchanted them with his great showmanship and compassion.

At the end of the short but sweet set Jared Leto escaped the only way he could - by literally legging it. Sprinting off with the rest of the band towards Tottenham Court Road, a mob of frenzied fans following them. We hope he made it out okay, as this was an incredibly brave event for a band of this calibre to have pulled off and hopefully they may have set a precedent for other bands to do the same.

All of this will no doubt create a great deal of a buzz for their new album 'Love Lust Faith + Dreams', which was released earlier this week. The band alluded to a UK headline tour and their headline slot at Download 2013. We asked Jamie Reed (part of the 30 Seconds To Mars entourage) what inspired this inspiring show and he responded that "It was all Jared’s idea, it’s all Jared".

30 Seconds To Mars will play ahead of Rammstein on the Main Stage at Download Festival 2013 next month, check out our recent expose on Rammstein and their controversies.

Click here for more Download Festival information.

Click here for our Download Spotify playlist.


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