Imagine Dragons at Xcel Energy Center, 3/12/14

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Erik Hess

Imagine Dragons
With the Naked and Famous and Nico Vega
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
March 12, 2014

There are few shows throughout rock history that have changed the face of music as we know it. The Beatles' infamous appearance on Ed Sullivan. The Rolling Stones at Altamont. Hendrix at Woodstock. Formaldehyde Junkies at the Mala. And on March 12, 2014, the face of true rock 'n' roll has been rearranged once again as Imagine Dragons wowed an audience who traveled from distances as far as Wilmar, Minnesota.

See Also: Slideshow: Imagine Dragons at the Xcel, 3/12/14


Although the Midwest has recently warmed up, everything was totally chill for the game-changing event at the sold-out Xcel Energy Center. As dusk approached, self-assured and decidedly stoked young men and women clad in American Apparel hoodies, plaid flannels, and other indie-streetwear flooded the streets, racing to see one of the most progressive and monumental shows ever to hit the area. E-cigs blazed as dedicated prog-rockers stood outside the arena, shuffling their feet and discussing online gaming. Some were even interviewed by a local cutting-edge news team, "On the Fly with Tony Fly."

Inside the arena was a different story, one of expanding minds and opening hearts. Young men and women sat on the carpeted floors of the Xcel Center in the general gate area, clustered in coves like goths outside of the Mall of America bathrooms. But there were no social classes here -- no goths, no losers, no cool people. Only fans of one of the greatest rock bands of our troubled times, all united in peaceful harmony.

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Photo By Erik Hess

Although the audience was young, the amount of children present proves that the average Imagine Dragons fan is an enlightened and advanced being -- as this is a serious band of serious musicians, most certainly only capable of being understood by adult intellectuals. Police officers stood in a cloud of funnel cake mist, staring at their phones -- no doubt texting for backup in order to contain the impending riot from the crazed crowd.

I entered the darkened and glorious innards of the Xcel in time to catch the first act, the moody and ambient, Nico Vega. Singer Aja Volkman entertained in a glittery garment, performing with the seductive ferocity of Cameron Diaz in 1994's The Mask. Feet thudded rhythmically to the sound of the powerful kick drum as Nico Vega dazzled the crowd like some sort of a hybrid of Bjork and Tool with the rock sensibilities of Led Zeppelin. Although skilled and adeptly showing their worldly ways using a noted reggae influence, their creativity proved too much for Dragonheads like myself as we yearned for a performance with less talent and a carefully crafted and easily marketed sense of emotion.

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Photo By Erik Hess

The Naked and Famous took the stage next and, boy oh boy, were they anything but naked. With their full sound and intensely moving sample tracks, they amped up the intensity in front of a backdrop of vibrant yellow and white strobe lights. Dark and rhythmic, they were a sort of brilliant hybrid of Bjork meets Tool meets Nine Inch Nails or maybe Led Zeppelin. Bringing an incredible aural spectacle of interwoven samples and echoing guitars, their bass guitar pounded and loosened up concertgoers' guts for some pelvic dancing. For a brief moment, it felt like the most intense sexual dance party for a new media marketing organization in downtown Woodbury.

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Photo By Erik Hess

One of the singers looked like a young and Irish Andrew Dice Clay -- a modern-day Adonis. Holding the audience captive with their intense stage presence, the Naked and Famous swayed with the sort of intensity only witnessed at the city's finest topless bars in North Minneapolis. As the stage lights evolved, it felt almost like Husker Du's "Pink Turns to Blue" was written solely about this mesmerizing performance.


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15 comments
hoffm83n
hoffm83n

imagine dragons sucks but this review sucks harder

ryan
ryan

This is a terrible review. I absolutely hate Imagine Dragons, but come on. The heavy-handed sarcasm is not witty or original. It felt forced and tiresome before the first sentence was even complete. Honesty would have afforded a much more biting critique of these clowns’ music.

Gimme Noise usually provides great concert reviews. This one reads like a 10th grade kid trying to sound clever to his 10th grade peers. 

southmpls86
southmpls86

City Pages once again proves that it cannot be taken seriously as a publication. This is ridiculous. Gimmie Noise used to be about really digging in to the music scene in our area, and now it's trash.

Marcos Maiero
Marcos Maiero

This is the most honest review I have ever read of this band.

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

This was all pretty stupid. How about, instead of attending the concert of a band you don't like, you go see a show by someone you actually do? Only the most pathetic of Internet Troll-era losers spend most of their time bitching about the stuff they dislike, instead of actually enjoying the stuff they enjoy.

Are you going to Disney on Ice next, so you can write a "hilarious" story mocking all the people who enjoy that as well?

Chelsea Wheat
Chelsea Wheat

That's a fine looking high horse you have, Drew Ailes!

Charlie Milkey
Charlie Milkey

" we yearned for a performance with less talent and a carefully crafted and easily marketed sense of emotion." I lol'd hard here

phabby
phabby

Hilariously fantastic review, and spot-on.

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

@ryan  Yeah, but did you read Drew's uproarious article the other day about reasons to create art. All the pictures were of money/valuable things! A yuk yuk yuk!

andrewrobertailes
andrewrobertailes topcommenter

@ajlalk3 by complaining about this review, aren't you spending your time bitching about stuff you dislike instead of actually enjoying the stuff you enjoy? SWISH

hoffm83n
hoffm83n

@ajlalk3 why did i read that :( Drew is really negative its kind of sad. His other articles include:

"I honestly tried to like Imagine Dragons" "six bands i would fight if i could" and  "the six vehicles idiot criminal child justin bieber should be driving"

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