Imagine Dragons Wow The Independent in San Francisco

Written by  Published in Live Reviews Thursday, 10 May 2012 19:56


Years from now, when Las Vegas-based Imagine Dragons are playing to sold out arenas and aren’t considered a new band; fans will look back on nights like Tuesday at the Independent in San Francisco and wonder why they weren’t there. They’ll wonder how they could have missed out on such a ridiculously talented band and notice that back in 2012, Imagine Dragons opened up for Australians The Jezabels.

They’ll see this new band at the peak of their powers with the same raw talent and emotion we witnessed tonight, but much farther away and wonder what it was like to see them in a place where the occupancy can’t be more than 250 people. What we witnessed Tuesday was nothing short of a diamond. It was shiny, awe-inspiring and perfect. There was front man, Dan Reynolds, who has the charisma of a Mick Jagger and the voice of Roland Orzabal (Tears for Fears) standing on the stage for the entire world to see and fearing nothing.

Up until a week ago I hadn’t even heard of the band and to my eternal shame, they hadn’t even registered a blip on my musical radar. This is a band that has been performing for four years and released four EPs over that time. It was completely fortuitous that I discovered them. Amoeba Records in San Francisco, gave tickets away on Twitter and I happened to be the first one to respond with Imagine Dragon and I was introduced to a great band.

Imagine Dragons, light it up. They make you feel something and that’s what you aim for when you go see a show. You want to know that they have fun, that they’re giving you a piece of themselves and that they not only have a connection with each other, but with you.

The chemistry with the band was unmistakable, laughing and sharing the microphone so close that they could have kissed each other and patting each other on the back during the show. These aren’t merely men playing instruments for money. These are brothers sharing the joy of music with a crowd that loves them. They shared their art with us and loved every second of it. Imagine Dragons are a band that has the type of sound that belongs at Staples Center in L.A. They rattled the windows and ruined the hearing of the patrons too self-conscious to wear earplugs. It was loud and beautiful and when the last song came on and we knew they were leaving, we collectively thought this might be one of the last times we get to see this band so intimately. We’re okay with that.
Last modified on Friday, 11 May 2012 14:39
Matt De Mello

When I was a kid I remember listening to Bob Dylan's lyrics and thinking I want to write like that someday. I followed the musical evolutionary steps from '80's pop, to 90's grunge and gangster rap, I found myself in a quandary in the late '90's and turned to classic rock and alt-country. That was my finding Buddha moment. I discovered greatness in the crackling vinyl sounds of Exile on Main Street, Grievous Angel and Nebraska. I found myself inspired by Nirvana, Pavement and REM. It was this inspiration that led me to write about music. It's the only thing I've ever felt truly comfortable doing. I love music, all music from Miles and Coltrane to Bruce and Dylan. From Nirvana and Pearl Jam to Beethoven and Brahms. From Jimi and Janis to Dre and Pac. I go to shows in San Francisco quite often and love discovering new music. If you have a hot tip on a band or like what I'm saying email me at or follow me @MattKDeMello

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