herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

At least, the singer can read the signs

There's a sign at Dan Reynolds' feet. I had hoped the Imagine Dragons frontman wouldn't need it. Especially when he comes over all sentimental and mushy. "I can't tell you how long we've been waiting to come back to Dublin," he smiles. Right, so that's why the sign taped to the floor reads 'DUBLIN IRELAND', eh?

As it turns out, the name Imagine Dragons (apparently, it's an anagram) isn't the worst thing about this band.

Sure, they can play. Reynolds can hold a note, too, and his colleagues certainly know their way around the drums. Floor toms; cymbals; a giant bass drum for Reynolds to get angry with – every band member has something to bang on.

But Reynolds is difficult to warm to. Maybe it's the mullet. Or perhaps it's more to do with the guy's tendency to spew awful rubbish about music being the only thing that could truly connect the world's new favourite rock band from Las Vegas to an audience of strangers in Ireland (a tweet would have sufficed, Dan).

Atmospheric

A loud, sweaty, atmospheric rock show, you have to admire their, erm, energy. If they ever do get to fill arenas, the teens will lose their minds. Because that's what Imagine Dragons (a top-three concern who have sold a million copies of their debut album Night Visions back home) are good for.

They make a big racket, their superficial leader regularly dishing out speeches that, in his head, might be inspirational. But this is Leaving Cert stuff; an angst-ridden brand of try-hard rock that, though appealing to the youngsters with their fists in the air, is embarrassing to anyone over the age of 18.

Dan (26) admits that there's nothing special about his band. At least he's honest.

Eternity

It's Time begins to grate after the first chorus. On Top of the World (a laughable, throwaway pop number) lasts for what feels like an eternity.

They might mess with electronics, but Imagine Dragons rarely go somewhere interesting with it.

Bizarrely, a cover of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds features. And this whole 'every-member-is-a-drummer' business gets seriously annoying after 30 minutes.

At one point, a set of confetti-filled balloons are unleashed upon the audience (isn't that Coldplay's trick?). It's a sign of Reynolds' ambition. After all, you only need listen to the flimsy, alt-rock hit that is Radioactive to know exactly what's on his mind. If he wasn't in such a hurry to make a splash, he might have remembered to write a decent tune.

2 STARS

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