Atlas Genius and Imagine Dragons Shake The Ground in Chicago

I was lucky enough to get into to the first of two sold out Atlas Genius and Imagine Dragon shows at the House of Blues in Chicago this past week. As I took my place in the photo pit I was able to take a moment and survey the crowd. While the main floor was covered with teens, the rest of the house was scattered with families, couples on dates, and of course the groups of twenty-something girls.  It was evident that these bands could reach a wide range of fans.   

From the time Atlas Genius took the stage until their final chords, the crowd was liking what they saw and heard. In addition to their Australian accents and dashing good looks, these boys could put on a show. By adding personal stories about the inspiration behind some of the tracks off their debut album, When It Was Now , they showed their comfort on the stage.

Playing to the audience’s’ enthusiasm lead singer Keith Jeffery hopped off the stage as screaming girls thrusted themselves against the barricades for the chance to get close to him. He took it a step farther by coming all the way to the back of the crowd, a risky move in cramped quarters at this packed sold out show.  Overall, the band performed a solid set, however the excitement that came from the crowd as Atlas Genius closed with their most popular song, “Trojans,” which made the rest of their set seem it was missing something.  This may very well change as more people at the shows become familiar with the other tracks off their new album.

Anticipation grew as Las Vegas’ Imagine Dragons were set to hit the stage.  With a backdrop of trees and screens used for visuals, it was apparent that lots of time and planning had gone into how the audience would experience the band’s major headlining tour.  While it added to the visual aspect of overall show, when you have a front man as passionate and animated as Dan Reynolds it almost isn’t even needed. The first time I caught these guys at last year’s Riot Fest, he had been sick and yet still managed to impress me. While that set was solid, this night’s performance solidified his positions as one of the best front men I have ever seen, which is saying a lot. 

Having written about their debut, Nightvisions, I was familiar with most of the songs from their set, but I wasn’t prepared for the crowd to know it just as well, if not better, than I.  While they saved one of their oldest and most well known songs , “It’s Time,”  till the end, the crowd was singing every word to all of the songs throughout the set.  During the radio friendly “Radioactive” the audience’s enthusiasm and could have easily drowned out the band in a smaller setting.  The floors shook as fans jumped and cheered through each song, but took a somber pause when the band informed the crowd that the night before one of their close friends had passed, but they knew he would have wanted them to put on a great show. This news brought the band and fans closer as they continued to play their set flawlessly.

Having sold out two nights at the House of Blues I wouldn’t be surprised if next time through Chicago these guys sell out any number of our larger venues.  If you get a chance to see them this tour, do it, before it’s too late.  It’s amazing to see such talented musicians leave every ounce of energy they have on the stage, and do it with smiles on their faces the whole show.  

Photos (c) Daniela Montelongo