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[Review] Incubus At The Hollywood Bowl – October 7, 2011

Sequels, second acts, encores — there here to remind us about the greatness of the first. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Incubus[/lastfm], after conquering the modern rock world in the middle of last decade, releasing a greatest hits album and going on a lengthy hiatus, have entered that second act.

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Incubus will never top their 2004 performance at Red Rocks, Colorado. It simply won’t happen. The DVD of that night shows a band ready to take on the world by infiltrating the soul of each audience member. The creative energy (DJ Kilmore playing a freakin’ theremin!), musical output and band charisma surrounding that night was made into a DVD I still play it on rainy days for goodness sakes. But if there sold out show at the Hollywood Bowl under the stars on Friday night was any indication, Incubus is not ready for their swan song.

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Incubus had three huge advantages going into the night:

1) [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Young the Giant[/lastfm], a worthy descendant and torch-bearer to Incubus’ almost-arena California rock, got the crowd as the dusk turned to darkness. YtG walk a fine line between riffless indie-rock and more radio-friendly fare, but its a balancing act that hits on all cylinders when it’s good.

2) The concert being a hometown show and all for Incubus, the night was a sort of homecoming celebration for the band, and it truly showed how far and wide the band’s music has reached. Young and old (the Bowl could have been renamed Cougartown for one night), all kinds of different ethnicities and races, skinny jeans, suit jackets, weed smoke and bottles of wine — every cross section of Southern California was in attendance to welcome back a band they have loved for so long, even before they passionately banged out “Meglomaniac” and “Wish You Were Here” to start.

3) The Hollywood Bowl itself: It was 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and the iconic band shell of the Bowl dressed in red and blue lighting as Incubus rocked from pool circle to upper lawn. What more could you ask for to start the weekend?

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Incubus’ execution was standard rock concert — they drew the crowd of nearly 18,000 in with some of their biggest hits such as “Anna Molly” and “Wish You Were Here”, while images from each respective music video played in high-definition behind the band.

The Calabasas boys slid into new material from If Not Now, When? which got some much-needed “loudness” aided in the concert setting. “In The Company of Wolves”, “Switchblade” were some of the new standouts, and encore-closer “Tomorrow’s Food” was a worthy concert-ending replacement for “Aqueous Transmission” with it’s epic two minute ending amidst visuals set to provoke and ponder with equal wonderment.

A brief acoustic interlude with just guitarist Mike Einziger and singer Brandon Boyd let the crowd take to their Bowl boxes and chairs. New track “Defiance” segued into the sing-along for “Love Hurts”. Me, well I went to the bathroom — I was on a man date.

The band hasn’t missed a beat in those years off, playing note-perfect takes or “remixes” of there very own on tracks from Light Grenades and Morning View and Make Yourself. The highlight of the concert was a “remix” of “Dig”. Bassist Ben Kenney looped a warped bass line around drummer Jose Pasillas’ hip-hop style drumbeat. The audience had no idea what was going on until Boyd started serenading the crowd (his shirt was well off by this point, ladies).

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At one point after the guitar-heavy, bongo-breakdown awesomeness that is “Vitamin”, singer Brandon Boyd, who belted out his lyrics all night long perfectly, looked out into the crowd, wondering where his mother was.

1,000 people raised their hands. Funny, sure. But it also points to the fact that Incubus is practically family to Southern California. We have seen them grow before our eyes and conquer the world from our back yard. And for myself and almost 18,000 others on Friday night, including Brandon’s mom, Incubus made us proud.

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Setlist:

Meglomaniac
Wish You Were Here
Adolescents
Anna Molly
Promises, Promises
If Not Now, When?
Circles
Privilege
Vitamin
In The Company of Wolves

(Acoustic Set)
Defiance
Love Hurts

Are You In?
A Kiss To Send Us Off
Dig
Drive
Switchblade
Nice To Know You

Pardon Me
Tomorrow’s Food

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