Imagine Dragons

SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Jonathan Geddes

Three stars

November 15 is clearly a date that suits both Imagine Dragons and Glasgow. As their singer Dan Reynolds explained, recent years have seen them always play the city on that date, the only difference being a steady progression in venue size, from Nice N Sleazy through to the O2 Academy and now the Hydro.

The latter seemed a natural home, given how super-sized the Imagine Dragons sound is, yet it was a few more grounded touches that actually worked best. The Las Vegas group delivered everything extra large, from a pummelling lights display to nearly every one of their chart-friendly pop rock tunes setting a course for anthemic.

There could be no complaints about either the sound or presentation, with Reynolds working the crowd well and a mix that was booming, not overwhelming. It’s just a shame they don’t do more with their actual material, instead offering a grab bag of current chart ideas, from a ropey Mumford & Sons style romp on Trouble to the clunky hip hop influences flowing through Roots and the irritant pop of On Top of the World.

These were all big songs, delving into familiar terrain, demanding that souls be saved and promising they’d never change. Yet there was more to the group than that. A cover of 500 Miles was enjoyably loose and ragged, while Reynolds’ chat, including asking for the correct pronunciation of Glasgow and singing happy birthday to the soundman, was a cut above the usual.

It created a mood of good cheer, and their more resounding tunes took full advantage to be genuinely stirring, from a pounding I’m So Sorry to the drum domination of break-though hit Radioactive and The Fall’s melodic finale.