The early slot at a music festival isn’t usually the best card for a band to draw. However, local pop-rockers Imagine Dragons weren’t complaining when they won the chance to perform at Bite of Las Vegas along with acts like Blue October and Train during a battle of the bands at the House of Blues. And good thing, as it turned out they’d get two slots in the spotlight.
The annual event draws thousands, but only a handful of those people were in attendance when the gates opened and ID took the stage around 12:30 last Saturday. Still, a modest but enthused crowd bobbed along to Dragons’ incessantly catchy lyrics and tunes. A small legion of fans crowded around guitarist D. Wayne Sermon for his solo, as is customary at ID shows, but the show still didn’t feel like one of the band’s regular Beauty Bar visits.
However, the Dragons got another shot to perform during Bite. Around 4:30 p.m., radio jocks from Mix 94.1 FM broke the news that Pat Monahan of Train was “one sick puppy” and Train would not be headlining as planned. Instead, Imagine Dragons were brought back on stage to fill the gap before now-headliner Blue October. It was a lucky break for ID, who put on a high-energy performance and were able to draw in the skeptical crowd, which quickly started clapping and jumping along to lead singer Dan Reynolds’ jerky dance moves on stage.
The band ran through their locally popular songs, slipped in some new tracks and ventured into covers like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” before returning to their own material. While Bite won’t rank as ID’s biggest gig to date – the band opened for Kelly Clarkson in Utah – the 20,000 Las Vegans gathered for the fest were definitely their largest local audience to date. If people hadn’t heard of Imagine Dragons before Bite of Las Vegas, they surely won’t forget them now.