Concerts Concerts Imagine Dragons at Echo Beach

Imagine Dragons at Echo Beach

Imagine Dragons at Echo Beach
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood, X Ambassadors
TD Echo Beach in Toronto, ON
July 29, 2013

Review by: Laura Molinaro
Photos by: Allison Janzen

Imagine Dragons hit Toronto to headline a sold-out show at TD Echo Beach.

Imagine Dragons

When it comes to putting on a live show, Imagine Dragons are Las Vegans to the core. Like their predecessors The Killers, they seem to have effortlessly found themselves a balance between strong musicality, authenticity and showmanship. Anticipations were high as the stage crew drew back the black curtains revealing the insane set hidden beneath. However, it was when the band finally took to the stage that the set came alive. A massive screen played apocalyptic footage as the house lights blared epileptically. The band opened with a short instrumental intro which then led into “Round and Round”. They followed with the shifting earworm “Amsterdam” and the feel good “Tiptoe”. The crowd screamed and chanted along with desperation as though the band would stop playing if they didn’t. Imagine Dragons met their desperation with some of their own with a frantic take of “Hear Me” which featured extensive soloing and an instrumental breakdown.

The first of many highlights of the night was the passionate performance the sold-out crowd put on for Night Visions second single “It’s Time”. Vocalist Dan Reynolds hardly needed to do anything as every word from the first verse to the last chorus was being thrown at him. Drawing back for a heartfelt moment, accompanied solely by an acoustic guitar Reynolds sang “Thirty Lives” and dedicated the performance to 17 year old Tyler Robinson, a friend of the band who passed away recently. To pick the energy back up a sludgy bass solo led into “Bleeding Out”.

Though the band has been to Toronto 3 times this year, the first time they tried to come into the country they were turned away. Suitably before “Demons”, Reynolds explained why: “First time we tried to come to Canada, they said, 'No'. I’m not going to say who, but one of us has a past. It could be Ben….it could be Ben.” Confetti filled balloons were passed around and popped above the audience. Perhaps it wasn’t altogether too unexpected that the band closed with the post-apocalyptic “Radioactive” but there were still some surprises in store throughout the finale which included Reynolds being brought up on suspension wires to hang above the stage. He then revealed a hanging bass drum and played along during a monstrous breakdown. After lowering down to the stage head first, dismounting and leaving the stage the band soon returned for a much begged for encore. They played “Nothing Left to Say” which once again saw Reynolds suspended above the stage and spinning over like something from Cirque du Soleil.

Imagine Dragons are one of the most promising new bands to date. They put on an enthralling performance to say the least and have the substance to back it up. Imagine Dragons return to Canada August 3rd for the legendary Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal. If you have the chance to see them live, take it!

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The Neighbourhood

Though they hail from California, they aren’t the warm, sunny band you might expect. Nonetheless, there’s definitely something very homey about The Neighbourhood. They opened their set with “How”, which bled into “Female Robbery”. If any band should score the soundtrack to your regrettable hangover, it should be The Neighbourhood. Their subtleties are their strengths and it is due to this that their music seems more “lonely solitude” than “sold-out show”. The swaggering and bitter “Afraid” added some diversity to the sometimes homogenous set. They ended with their sure-fire fan favourite “Sweater Weather”. It was met with cheers from the get-go, chants throughout and brought on the drowning squeals as the band left the stage.

X Ambassadors

New York's X Ambassadors were first on the bill, getting the night off to a strange start. Their lead singer had a penchant for grinding the air to the duals synths making for a sufficiently awkward performance. But what he lacked in subtly he made up for in overcompensation; energy was kept as high as it could be for most of their mid-tempo songs. Their single “Unconsolable” somewhat fell flat in terms of hooking and building the audience’s vibe, but the most impressive (or at the very least, unconventional) moment of their set was when their frontman busted out some saxophone licks.