Imagine Dragons Bring Night Visions To The Olympia

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Many times I have tried to go to smaller gigs with an open mind, ie no knowledge of the artists just their music. I figured it would be a good way to just immerse myself fully in their set and make up my mind based on their live show. Last night, at Imagine Dragons in the Olympia, I finally succeeded in doing so and what a treat it was.

For anyone unsure of who I’m talking about, you’ve been hearing them on the radio all week, and of course in the months preceeding now. Forming in 2008, the Las Vegas quartet cracked it in a big way last year with their singles “Radioactive” and “It’s Time”, the latter being used in many ads and promos to help things along. Yes I’ve since done all my Wiki and Googling.

Arriving in to catch the tail end of the support, I was struck by the same feeling I had when I first saw The Gaslight Anthem: when did these guys get huge? The theatre was packed, and their second night tomorrow has sold out rapidly too. It’s fantastically encouraging that bands like this are still developing such devout followings, and that the crowd was quite young on average helps me regain faith that musical tastes are still strong.

The first thing to notice at an Imagine Dragons gig is that there’s an awful lot of percussion on stage, and boy does it get used. Throughout the set front man Dan Reynolds can be found hammering away on a massive kick drum, whilst the guitarist and bassist, Wayne Sermon and Ben McKee, also hop in and out from their respective personal toms. It is a huge part of what makes their sound, and an even bigger part of what makes their live show. The light show was incredible in such intimate surroundings too.

As for the setlist, with only one official album release it’s pretty straightforward what is going to be heard (by my count “Every Night” was the only track from the album that didn’t feature). A nice little medley of “Three Little Birds/Stand By Me” broke things up in the middle and there was a nice touching moment with a trio of Reynolds,Sermon and drummer Daniel Platzman on violin performing “30 Lives” in tribute to Tyler Robinson, a 17 year old cancer victim who passed away last year after having grown quite close to the band beforehand. It is always a plus too when bands have the sense to throw the song mid set instead of encore, in this instance “It’s Time” being played halfway through the night therefore removing the apprehension for their biggest track.

Like their hypothetical forefathers The Killers, Imagine Dragons are a band that could live or die by what they do next, but it is safe to say that if they keep form, their live shows can only get better. And hopefully the venues will get bigger!

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