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Awolnation, Imagine Dragons, Zeale Heat Up Water Street Music Hall

This was my first venture out to Water Street Music Hall in Rochester. They have had some great acts in the past so I’ll have to keep an eye out now that I know how easy it is to get to. Seriously. I live in the eastern Buffalo burbs and it was an hour door to door. 90 to 490,  and the St Paul exit dumps you at the door.
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I had been planning to see Imagine Dragons when I learned they were coming to Rochester. I was listening to Awolnation on my iPod and decided to look up their tour schedule and bam, there they were paired with Imagine Dragons.
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So clearly I was going to be there for sure.
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The line to pick up will call tickets, was half a block long. I won’t do will call again, but amusingly the tour bus out front, which one of my line mates surmised was Awolnation, had someone inside playing Zelda for Wii.

By the time I got in, the venue was packed. Unlike the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, it’s all one level, not tiered, so it’s a lot harder to plan a strategy to make your way to the front, but I did eventually. I always do. I’m too short to see in a general admission show otherwise.

Soon Zeale took the stage, an Austin, Texas based hip hop group/indie that had the crowd pumped up in no time.  They were clearly excited to be on the tour and are currently working on a collaboration EP with Awolnation.

Imagine Dragons took the stage next nine-ish. The crowd was pretty nuts. I think that they were the main attraction to a substantial portion of the audience. The lead singer, Dan Reynolds still seemed amazed at the reception he got from the audience. It was a real sing-along crowd, with people joining in on most of the popular songs.
I was really glad that I got to see them in a relatively small venue because now that their album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, they will likely be booking arenas next pass through. They will likely gain additional attention now that It’s Time was covered on Glee and is featured in the film version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, opening this weekend.
Personally, the lyric “…I’m never changing who I am” is bound to resonate with a person of a certain age who still goes to general admission concerts on a regular basis.

Awolnation, a truly genre-defying band, was the headliner. Sail from the Megolithic Symphony CD is probably their most well-known track because it appeared on The Good Wife, Longmire, So You Think You Can Dance and  during the London Olympics. My favorite song is Knights of Shame a nearly fifteen minute song that covers genres from rap to electronica to dubstep to pop. Aaron Bruno, the lead singer, has sited inspiration from such diverse artists as Little Richard, Prince and The Dead Kennedys.

I was afraid that such a heavily electronic sound would disappoint live, but that was not the case. Bruno never stopped moving, engaged with the audience and actually walked out onto the crowd.

If this trio of bands comes to a venue anywhere near you, they are definitely worth the drive.

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