Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Live Review - Incubus @ Ed Sullivan Theater

It has been five years since the last Incubus record, Light Grenades was released. In the time the band has had since they have have toured all over the world, released a greatest hits album, singer Brandon Boyd has opened art exhibits around the globe of his original material and published his second book as well as releasing a solo record, bassist Ben Kenney has also released a solo album, guitarist Mike Eizinger was a student of Flea's at UCLA. Drummer Jose Pasillas and multi-instrumentalist and DJ Chris Kilmore have gone on to keep busy within the music world, yet, needless to say they have been very busy and anticipation of new material has only grown through that time. On the eve of the release of their latest record, If Not Now, When?, the band's seventh studio album, the SoCal rockers returned to New York for a weekend of massive press and capped it all off with an intimate, invite only performance streamed on the web of the acclaimed Live on Letterman web series at Letterman's base at Ed Sullivan Theater.

As they walked onto the legendary stage which they did earlier in the day for a taping of the Late Show and which they have done many times before, I do not believe the band has ever been greeted with a reception quite like the one they received last night. They looked very relaxed, poised and very inviting as they opened with the bombastic "Megalomaniac" and kicking into the fan favorite, "Wish You Were Here." It was thrilling from the get go and the realization that the music world that Incubus have been apart of since the mid-90's is vastly different than it was when they first started, they displayed why they have beaten all cliches, critical berate, outlived genres we journalists have clumped them in through the years only to come back more resilient and mature as the years go on. For a band whose first song was called "Bathe in my Snot," needless to say they have certainly come a long way and their legion of fans have been devoted to them at every step. For an hour on stage with a very safe set list that only included a handful of new songs including the single "Promises, Promises," Incubus took fans back, but not too far back as not songs from SCIENCE were played (bummer) but a deep cut from Make Yourself, "Consequence" was. They certainly have matured through the years and it is easy to see that right away, as Chris Kilmore is not just a DJ spinning records to sample but having his hands and feet all over various types of organs, Eizinger on guitars has developed a sound far from just the pedals and chords he was so heavy relying on through the years and the rhythm section of Kenny and Pasillias has never been tighter. Yet, most of all, it falls on the shoulders of Boyd, whose lyrics evoke emotion and confusion with his audience as he captivates them with every word and sometimes confuses them due to his stellar vocabulary, as a front man he still faces the Justin Bieber syndrome as girls as screaming to "Take it off!" and he holds it in stride. His looks may have attracted a certain demographic but its his skills with the pen and movements on stage that have kept them and others there for decades and will continue to do so for decades to come.

Photo's By David M. Russell