I received an invite from the lovely folks at Wilful Publicity to pop along to the O2 in North Greenwich to check out a super talented artist going by the name K.FLAY who was supporting the mighty IMAGINE DRAGONS. I admit, I hadn’t heard of her before so after doing a little digging, I saw that she’s from just outside of Chicago, moved to San Francisco and is currently living in Brooklyn but currently doesn’t have an apartment. After finding out that her music appears on the soundtrack to the new Tomb Raider movie (due out 14th March) my appetite was whetted and I was itching to see and hear here perform.
Her set comprised of a mixture of lo-fi electro beats, heavy bass and fiery guitar that saw her focussed on the microphone one minute and leaping around the stage like a whirling dervish the next. For me, this proves that she's a really versatile artist who refuses to be pigeon-holed, If I had to sum up her music, I would say it was a cross between LORDE, Pixies with a healthy dose of head banging thrown in for good measure. She continues her sold out North American tour on March 12th and is set to join 30 Seconds To Mars this Summer in America.
Looking around the O2 at half time, it was interesting to see a real mixed bag of fans, there were youngsters with their parents, teenagers who had been given a party pass form their folks to attend with friends and drink FAR too many energy drinks and more mature people (ahem, like me) proving that IMAGINE DRAGONS have what it takes to reach out to a broad audience. After a few corporate adverts on the huge video screens, we were entertained by some lovely classical music which slowly built as show time neared…..
For the next 2 hours, IMAGINE DRAGONS unleashed their big guns and it wasn’t long until the whole room was eating out of their hands. Peppered with their stadium sized anthems, they used their time in the spotlight to focus on issues such as depression, something that frontman Dan Reynolds has struggled with in the past and was the reason that he ended up picking up a microphone and writing songs in the first place.
Hits such as “Believer”, “Amsterdam” and “On Top of the World” kept the energy levels up and props such as a confetti cannon, smoke bombs and a barrage of massive balloons falling from the ceiling created some memorable moments throughout the set.
Towards the end of their main set, the band disappeared from the main stage and after a couple of minutes, re-appeared on a bijou stage towards the back of the arena to perform stripped back tracks including a medley of “Bleeding Out”, “Warriors” and “Polaroid”, replacing guitars and drums with a cello and violin which gave the fans at the back of the venue a birds eye view of their heroes.
They invited K.FLAY to join them on stage for “Thunder” during their first encore and proceeded to return once again to play another 3 tracks prior to bidding London a fond farewell before exiting the stage for the final time.
Looking around the room after the show, it was great to see so many happy, smiling faces, admittedly, this band aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and at times, the speeches that Dan was delivering seemed a little OTT and drawn out, but even I was happy to agree that it was a thoroughly entertaining evening which was enjoyed by all in attendance. I’m sure they’ll be gracing the stages of many popular music festivals throughout the Summer, keep your eyes on their social media for more information.
Words and Pictures by Steve Muscutt
2. I Don't Know Why
3. It's Time
5. Downfall (Whatever It Takes intro)
6. Whatever It Takes
7. I'll Make It Up to You
8. Intermission (Mouth of the River intro)
9. Mouth of the River
11. Start Over
13. Intermission (Rise Up intro)
14. Rise Up
15. On Top of the World
17. I Bet My Life (Acoustic)
18. Shots (Acoustic)
19. Bleeding Out / Warriors / Polaroid
21. Arrival (Thunder intro)
22. Thunder (with K.Flay)
25. Walking the Wire
26. The Fall