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Imagine Dragons defend gigs in Israel, Azerbaijan

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds has responded to the criticism the band have received for performing concerts in Israel and Azerbaijan.

Last year, System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian publicly petitioned the band to cancel their September 2023 concert in Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, citing the country’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against Armenians.

Further pressure came from Brian Eno, Thurston Moore and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who shared an open letter asking Imagine Dragons to pull the show.

“Performing in Baku under these circumstances, regardless of intent, can only help the government of Azerbaijan cover up its crimes,” a section of it read.

The Las Vegas band went ahead with the Baku concert, drawing criticism from Armenian-American musician Tankian, who said he has “zero respect for those guys”.

“There are corrupt leaders and warmongers all over the world – and where do you draw the line?”

“When there’s a government that’s about to commit ethnic cleansing, when Azerbaijan was starving the 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and not allowing any food or medicine in… you know, as an artist, if I found that out, there is no fucking way I could have gone and played that show. But some artists do,” he said.

Imagine Dragons also played Israel last August – before the Supernova festival massacre – despite calls from pro-Palestine campaigners to ditch their show in Tel Aviv over the country’s human rights record.

In an interview published yesterday (2 July) on Rolling Stone, the band’s frontman Dan Reynolds addressed those decisions.

“I don’t believe in depriving our fans who want to see us play because of the acts of their leaders and their governments,” said Reynolds. “I think that’s a really slippery slope. I think the second you start to do that – there are corrupt leaders and warmongers all over the world – and where do you draw the line?”

Responding to Tankian’s comments specficially, Reynolds reiterated his position: “I think I just said it. It’s a slippery slope, and I’m never going to deprive our fans of playing for them.”

 


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Imagine Dragons urged to cancel Azerbaijan concert

System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian is publicly petitioning Imagine Dragons to cancel their upcoming concert in Azerbaijan, this September.

The American-Armenian musician took to social media last night (16 August) to urge Imagine Dragons to call off the Baku concert due to the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Nagorno-Karabagh – a region within Azerbaijan’s borders but dominated by ethnic Armenians.

In his post, Tankian pointed out that “Azerbaijan’s petro-oligarchic dictatorial regime was starving 120k people in Nagorno-Karabagh which is now being called a Genocide by the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”

Tankian said he had previously sent a “kind letter” to the band through representatives “urging them to reconsider” the show, but did not receive a response. His post also includes a change.org petition, which has garnered 4,859 signatures of the desired 5,000.

Tankian wrote: “As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Nagorno-Karabagh with starvation already being recorded I am forced to publicize this letter and [Imagine Dragons’] disregard for this humanitarian catastrophe. Maybe they felt they had a legal liability to play the show, maybe they just don’t care. My whole life I have been an advocate for genocide recognition and have always said there has to be a price to pay for Genocidal regimes or deniers. Another genocide is looming by Azerbaijan and while this happens they get to enjoy an American band from LV. Fuck that! That’s not right.”

In his letter to Imagine Dragons, Tankian congratulated the American band on their track record of philanthropy. “One of the things I appreciate about you as artists is that you’re active proponents of various human rights issues and social causes. Your work with Amnesty International and your outspokenness about the war in Ukraine among them,” he wrote.

“Another genocide is looming by Azerbaijan and while this happens they get to enjoy an American band from LV. Fuck that!”

Explaining the severity of the situation, Tankian wrote: “This is due to the horrendous human rights violations carried out by the corrupt petro-oligarchic dictatorship of Ilham Aliyev against not only his own people, but thousands of Armenians (my people). Since 2020, Azerbaijan has created war against Armenians, killing thousands, displacing tens of thousands and terrorizing countless more via an illegal blockade that has been ordered to be reopened by the ICJ and the European Court of Human Rights.”

“With the world in so much turmoil since COVID and the subsequent war in Ukraine, too much of the world is still unaware of what’s happening to Armenians by Aliyev’s regime. They’ve invaded Armenia and have been carrying out heinous human rights violations with impunity. International events and performances by artists have only served to normalize and whitewash their status among the family of nations.”

Tankian concluded: “I really feel that performing in Azerbaijan would have a negative impact on your brand as well. I’m confident that you can decipher all the facts for yourselves to decide whether to cancel your concert. Either way, I truly appreciate your time and consideration. Thanks for hearing me out and I hope to meet you all one day.”

“Imagine Dragons needs to be made aware they are being USED to white-wash the criminal & genocidal Aliyev regime of Azerbaijan”

The change.org petition, that Tankian included in his post also says: “Imagine Dragons needs to be made aware they are being USED to white-wash the criminal & genocidal Aliyev regime of Azerbaijan.”

In September last year, System Of A Down condemned the “evil aggression” against Armenia in the wake of bombings that took place along the nation’s eastern border.

The band – all of whom are of Armenian descent – were at the forefront of campaigning for recognition of the Armenian genocide of 1915, and have continued with their efforts to speak up for the nation amid ongoing unrest.

 


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Imagine Dragons, The Strokes to headline Lolla India

Imagine Dragons and The Strokes will headline the inaugural edition of Lollapalooza India.

Other acts slated to perform at the Mumbai event include Greta Van Fleet, electronic dance music’s Diplo and Zhu, Indo-Canadian Punjabi music and rap-star AP Dhillon, and dream-pop artists Cigarettes After Sex.

The lineup also features a mix of Indian and international acts including Prateek Kuhad, Divine, Japanese Breakfast, Madeon, Alec Benjamin, Jackson Wang, Chelsea Cutler, The Wombats, Imanbek, Kasablanca, Apashe, Raveena, The Yellow Diary.

Bloodywood, Sandunes, Aswekeepsearching, The F16s, Kayan, Tejas, House of Hashbass, Madboy/Mink, T.ill APES, Kumail, Kavya, Mali, Tanmaya Bhatnagar, Easy Wanderlings, Abhi Meer, Bombay Brass, Parimal Shais, Siri, Tracy De Sa and Aadya are also on the bill.

“The event will feature more than 40 artists across four stages and over 20 hours of live music”

In total, the event will feature more than 40 artists across four stages and over 20 hours of live music. Some 60,000 fans are expected. The two-day festival will take place at Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Race Course, between 28 and 29, January 2023.

Lollapalooza India is being produced by Farrell, WME, C3 Presents and India’s BookMyShow, and means the brand has now grown to eight countries on four continents, including editions in the US, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France and Sweden.

“Lollapalooza India aims to bring together music aficionados across genres, entertainment enthusiasts, global and Indian audiences that are seeking marquee, unique experiences at par with international standards,” the organisers said in a statement.

“Amongst the boldest, brightest, most colourful and diverse festivals around the world, Lollapalooza is a festival that offers everyone something to take back home through its music, ethos, vibe and unparalleled experience.”

 


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Imagine Dragons help pay off Utah venue’s mortgage

Imagine Dragons have stepped in to help secure the future of a live music venue in Utah which helped launch their career.

The Las Vegas band’s lead singer Dan Reynolds presented Corey Fox, owner of the 300-cap Valour in Provo, with a “paid in full” mortgage note at a show marking its 16th anniversary.

KSL TV reports the group launched the “Free the Fox” campaign with Zions Bank last June after learning Fox was struggling to make payments during the pandemic.

“I don’t think we’d be a band were it not for Corey Fox and Velour,” says Reynolds. “Corey has always believed in young artists and provided a refuge for them to be around other artists. This is the least we could do to help him through a challenging time.”

“Velour has done so much to help build a vibrant downtown and put Provo on the music map”

Last summer, Imagine Dragons livestreamed a benefit concert with Provo’s Neon Trees, with Zions Bank promising to match up to $50,000 of the funds raised – enough to pay off Fox’s mortgage.

“Velour has done so much to help build a vibrant downtown and put Provo on the music map,” adds Zions Bank regional manager Nick Whiting. “Zions Bank is proud to support the generous efforts of Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, and so many community members to preserve this local treasure.

“It’s important that as a community we continue to show up for Velour so it can keep delivering great music and launching great bands like Imagine Dragons.”

 


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Imagine Dragons extend blockbuster world tour

Multi-platinum Grammy award-winning band Imagine Dragons have added three more dates to their extensive Mercury World Tour.

The North American leg of the tour, produced by Live Nation, will be extended with dates in Allentown (16 February), Seattle (5 March) and Montreal (4 May).

The 2022 tour kicks off on 6 February at FTX Arena (cap. 21,000) in Miami, Florida, making stops across North America and Europe before wrapping up on 16 July at Lollapalooza in Paris, France.

The entire tour, which celebrates the release of their latest album ‘Mercury – Act 1’, includes a total of 53 dates at arenas, stadiums and festivals.

The North American leg of the tour will be extended with dates in Allentown, Seattle and Montreal

The European leg comprises 18 stops across the continent, including several major festivals, like I-Days in Italy (11 June) Pinkpop in the Netherlands (19 June) and Rock Werchter in Belgium (2 July).

Luxembourg’s Rockhal Open Air (16 June), Poland’s Open’er Festival (29 June) and Spain’s Mad Cool Festival (7 July) are also part of the Mercury World Tour routing.

Stadium dates include Luzhniki Stadium (cap. 81,000) in Moscow, Russia, Ernst-Happel Stadion (51,000) in Vienna, Austria, and Letnany Airport (60,000) in Prague, Czech Republic.

Tour support will be provided by MØ and Grandson in North America and Lany in Europe.

Imagine Dragons are represented by James Whitting at Paradigm Talent Agency and Corrie Martin at Wasserman Music.

 


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Vegas Strong benefit raises $700,000+

The 1 December Vegas Strong benefit concert raised more than US$700,000 for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest shooting, organisers have announced.

The show, which featured appearances by the Killers, Imagine Dragons, Boyz II Men, Jay Leno, Carrot Top and Vegas regulars David Copperfield, Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group, took place exactly two months after the mass shooting at the Las Vegas country music festival, the deadliest in US history.

All proceeds from Vegas Strong, which took place at Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, will be donated to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund set up after the attack.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of love from these icons of Las Vegas entertainment,” says Clark County commissioner Steve Sisolak, one of the people behind the fund, “who once again proved that our community stands as one to support the victims of this senseless tragedy.”

The similar We are Manchester concert in the UK, in aid of victims of May’s Manchester Arena bombing, raised £270,000 (US$366,000).

 


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