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Imagine Dragons at Little Caesars, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017

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After a hot career start that could only be described as, “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons hit a wall last year.

After two platinum (and better) albums and a cache of bit hits, the Las Vegas quartet declared a hiatus during part of 2016 to air out and regain its bearings. The results of the rest can be heard on “Evolve,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 when it was released in June and is already certified gold, launching the singles “Believer” and “Thunder,” with “Whatever it Takes” in the midst of its own climb.

The album finds Imagine Dragons working with a crew of producers and co-writers outside of its usual collaborator Alex da Kid, which also contributed to a freshness that’s extended to the group’s current live shows...

• Guitarist Wayne Sermon says Imagine Dragons and particularly frontman Dan Reynolds went through a bleak period before the group came together to make “Evolve.” “We’ve been very vocal about where it’s about, and kind of where it came from, how this album makes us feel,” Sermon, 33, says by phone from Las Vegas. “It feels like an arrival to us, a step from the dark into the light especially for Dan. He’s struggled with a lot of things that he’s finally been able to get ahold of and conquer. He’s definitely in a better headspace, and that reflects in the music and it also needed to reflect in the live show.”

• Sermon adds that the 2016 hiatus “did exactly what we needed it to do. You know, it’s like having your favorite meal every day; Yes it’s your favorite meal, it’s incredible, it’s the best meal and you’re lucky to have it. But if you have it every single day, you sort of lose your love for that meal. So, I think having something else, having variety in our lives, made us fall back in love with what we love to do, which is play music for people. It was extremely necessary and extremely therapeutic and exactly what we needed.”

• Imagine Dragons pursued some different flavors sonically for “Evolve,” which Sermon says, “can probably be summed up in a lack of instrumentation versus more. I think generally in the past we’ve subscribed to the ‘more is more’ principle, or the Phil Spector style of production, the wall of sound type of thing. But this album we wanted to pare everything back; Rather than having 10 kick-drums on a track, just having one that sounds really good, or rather than recording a bunch of different drums, record one take and make sure it sounds right. One or two guitar tracks per song, one bass track per song and that pretty much is just it. We wanted to make sure the melodies and the vocals could shine through without it being cluttered. It was a new approach for us, and I think it was really nice. It feels new and fresh.”

• Some of that approach was achieved by the input of Imagine Dragons’ new collaborators, which definitely took the group out of its comfort zone. “It was scary in a sense for us,” Sermon says, “because we worked with Alex da Kid on every album and we’re comfortable with that, but we hadn’t really ventured out much past that mostly because we’re OCD people that need to control every aspect of what we do. So to give a part of that up was a little challenging at first, but it’s the kind of people that make the difference. Mattman & Robin especially were incredible to work with and just very much like us. We were very much of the same mind, and it felt like a sort of extension of the band rather than two strangers coming in. It kind of has to feel that way in order for it to work.”

• Imagine Dragons expects to be on the road well into 2018 supporting “Evolve,” and Sermon is looking forward to seeing the group’s show, er, evolve over time. “It’s probably been the most intense production we’ve done, the most moving parts, and overall the most work for our crew, so it’s taken a long time to get things right,” the guitarist says. “It’s been a pretty stressful time getting everything the way we want it, but I think when we finally get it to where it’s supposed to be, it’s going to be the best show we’ve ever done. We’re getting good feedback from the show, but we’re perfectionists so we’re seeing a lot of things wrong with the show that we need to fix. That being said, I think it will end up being the best show we’ve done.”

If You Go:

• Imagine Dragons, Grouplove and K. Fay

• 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.

• Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

• Tickets are $39.50-$69.50

• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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