The name of the band is allegedly an anagram; exactly for what the band is wisely not saying. They burst improbably out of Las Vegas several years ago and captured a surprising number of awards and followers in the interim. A full house of the latter ecstatically enjoyed the proceedings as Imagine Dragons headlined a triple bill. Opening with “Round and Round” lead singer Dan Reynolds (one of the remaining two co-founders) commanded the stage with authority throughout the evening. “It’s Time” has been adopted by at least one championship high school team as its near anthem, and as the set closer live the song carried even more force. As a single, it reached platinum status late last year.
Arrayed across the stage were a variety of supplemental drums, to which all the band members drifted to add some wallop to the songs. Taking a page from the Japanese all-drum troupe Kodo, on several occasions the Imagine Dragons songs became a tribal percussion-only sonic blast. At other times, the tempo slowed to become reminiscent of the heaviness last heard in early Black Sabbath. “Radioactive” (the lead track from the current album) appeared midway through the set. My notes during this song were “Irish fleadh meets early Santana.”
The fervent crowd sang along to each song, allowing Reynolds to thrust his microphone outward for more crowd participation. Wayne Sermon was often given the spotlight, and his chiming and sinuous guitar work recalled the propelling fretwork of David Gilmour’s efforts with Pink Floyd. Bassist Ben McKee was afforded time for a bass solo, an anachronism in this era but a clever move. “Amsterdam” was a perfect vehicle for Dan Platzman’s drumming.
“Hear Me” resonated for many in the audience, augmented by Ryan Walker’s keyboard embellishments.
Billboard magazine listed Imagine Dragons as one of “2012’s Brightest New Stars” and it is easy to see why, based on a solid live performance and their accomplished studio work.
The band will be returning to play larger venues, so the lucky folks at the House of Blues got to see the band sweating a full two hour gig with intensity.