Monday night, February 18th, 8pm, and it’s already hot and sweaty in one of Philadelphia’s classic concert venues, The Electric Factory, where a sold out crowd is awaiting one of the hottest bands currently in the world of rock, Imagine Dragons.
The first of two opening acts was Indie band Nico Vega (from Los Angeles) fronted by Aja Volkman, the wife and number one cheerleader of Imagine Dragons front-man Dan Reynolds.
Her voice is loud, commanding, unique, and romancing. Drummer Dan Epand, guitarist Rich Koehler, and bassist Jamila Weaver collectively provide a powerful sound to compliment Aja’s vocals.
At first, the always tough Philly crowd looks upon the performers with blank expressions as if thinking “Who is Nico Vega”? In no time however, Aja and crew have the crowd waving their hands and nodding their heads, priming them for the acts to follow.
The second act of the evening, Atlas Genuis, is a group of Aussie gents who walk onstage and immediately win the crowd over with tight harmonies, cool bass lines, peppy percussion, and stunning smooth and melodic vocals.
Singer/guitarist Keith Jeffery, brothers Michael on drums and Stephen on bass, and Darren Sell on the keyboards are the epitome of performers, connecting with the crowd at every juncture and getting into the thick of things. Stephen can’t help himself, getting up close to mingle with the Philly natives, hopping off stage to get the extra love that Atlas Genius so deserves, and then taking the time to make a paper plane set-list which is sent to soar into the chaos. By the end of their set the crowd is in love.
Finally, the headliners are announced and the crowd goes berserk. Dan Reynolds, Ben McKee, Wayne Sermon, and Dan Platzman take the stage to roaring applause! Imagine Dragons opens with percussion so thumpy, thick, and bass-tastic, that hearts skip a beat.
This leads directly into their opening song “Round and Round”, quickly followed by the 80s synth awesomeness of “Tip Toe”, sending concert goers into an arm swaying, head bobbing frenzy.
Reynolds addresses the crowd several times over the course of the evening, elaborating on how much he loves Philly: “This place is like magic to me”. Top notch harmonies by three of the four band mates initiates a perfect Philly/Dragons sing along. The entire night is a collaborative affair between the fans and the band.
The breathy assistance of the crowd rouses the sleeping giant of percussion, turning “Radioactive” into the evening’s anthem. The boys then bring the mood back down to earth with a sincere performance of “Thirty Lives”.
Reynolds leaves the stage for a moment to “cool off”, allowing the other band members to show off their musical chops and woo the crowd with technical perfection and instrumental acrobatics. As Reynolds returns to the stage, the band jumps into “On Top of the World” as the crowd blissfully dances and sings along.
The evening wraps up with fans waiting for it, waiting for it, waiting for it…”It’s Time”. The band’s well known track is the crescendo to a perfect evening celebrating the friendship between Philadelphia and Imagine Dragons.
But what’s a performance without an encore? The band returns shortly after leaving the stage and provides the audience with a final song for the road, “Nothing Left to Say”.
[photos by Steve Garfinkel Photography, article by Amanda Buck]
Round and Round
Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older)
On Top of the World
Nothing Left to Say