Imagine Dragons stop in St. Paul to rock out Excel

Opening acts K. Flat and Grouplove help make a great concert

Imagine Dragons swung by St. Paul to rock the Excel this past Sunday. With front liners K. Flay and Grouplove, all three bands brought their own style to the stage.
The night started with K. Flat around 7:30 p.m. K.Flay is the stage name for Illinois native Kristine Meredith Flaherty. Her style is very unique; she effortlessly switches from technical rap to lovely melodic refrain lines.

The stadium was about half full when she began, and the crowd didn’t seem interested, eagerly waiting on Imagine Dragons. K. Flay is worth a listen based on her unique blend of alternative rock and straight up rap.

The second group before Imagine Dragons was Grouplove. They are most known for “Tongue Tied”, and have a strong recent album “Big Mess.” Their new single “Remember that Night” is getting a lot of airtime on alternative stations.

The breaks between sets seemed way too long and unnecessary, and eventually a set of inflatable teeth were set up. Christian Zucconi is the lead singer, with his iconic raspy voice.

I heard many people call his voice a whine. In many of Grouplove’s songs we hear Christian’s voice go into a high falsetto, as well as his screeching yells.

In the records the screams are tasteful and his whiny tone is rather refreshing, but he went overboard with it in his live performance.

His duet partner Hannah Hooper has a clean and very likeable voice. It is obvious that the male voice gives Grouplove its unique voice, but in almost every song she balances him out.

The blending of their voices is Grouplove’s largest ammunition.

After an encore cover of the Beastie Boys, Grouplove left the stage. The crowd was now completely packed awaiting their gods. We waited in agony, every minute felt like hours until they finally appeared.

Each member stood side by side, each body had a light shining down on them, making their “Evolve” colors come alive. They began with “I don’t know why” giving the concert a much needed shot of espresso.

We went from exciting sets to a surprising move to a small stage in the back. Imagine Dragon’s vocalist Dan Reynolds sounded strong singing an unplugged version of rock ballad “Bleeding Out”, as well as a heartfelt tribute to Tom Petty.

They triumphantly ran back up to a new set getting things back in gear with their most recent radio hit “Thunder”. “Walking the Wire” and “Believer” wrapped up the show.

Imagine Dragons put on a great show technically, but they lack a sense of charisma.

Reynolds had a few good talks discussing the massacre in their hometown Las Vegas, and a serious talk about depression before the crowd favorite “Demons”.

Although obviously cheesey, these talks felt real and genuine, giving life outside of the strictly technical cadence of their music.

Although not my top concert I have ever seen, Imagine Dragons puts on a show far superior to their age. A five-year-old band plays like a decade old group; they know what they’re doing. I will definitely be at their next show and you should be too.

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