Their gig during Sunday night's broadcast of the worst music award ceremony of the year -- no small feat -- offered ample evidence. To wit, it delivered the required tropes that any so-called alternative band must master to earn the title in the eyes of the AMAs.
There was much fog, perhaps to indicate the impending doom of a band gearing up for a set in hell, soundtracking sinners' eternal damnation.
Dressed in black, lead singer Dan Reynolds stood front and center. The sharp objects hanging from his neck -- fangs, perhaps? -- suggested a hunter and his trophies. "With the beast inside/There's nowhere we can hide," he sang while fellow Dragons fought the fog and dodged video-projected lightning bolts.
One particularly "alternative" part came when the singer picked up a mallet after revealing where his demons were hiding -- spoiler alert: they're in his eyes -- and started banging on a big bass drum. It was like he was soundtracking the Broadway adaptation of "The Hunger Games," letting loose primal feelings of survival within the jungle that is the
Adding to the drama was the truth that Imagine Dragons beat equally fringe shouters the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, both of which have helped reignite passions for the truly raw sounds of popular acoustic folk music.
On Sunday, though, the lightning bolt that is "Ho Hey" didn't stand a chance against Imagine Dragons' pounding fury.