Subscribe to SoundAffects
email list:

Follow SoundAffects1 on Twitter



Concert Reviews: Incubus

photo of Dirk Lance from Incubus copyright Emily Noelle IgnacioIncubus
Hi Fi Buys Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA
October 18, 2002
By: Emily Noelle Ignacio

A few months ago, during the first leg of Incubus's Morning View tour, I had read a concert review and an article about the band and was startled that both writers fixated largely on one, seemingly trivial fact: Incubus is a happy band. Given that they had just released a richly textured, emotional and openly self-reflective album, I had assumed that each journalist would have written more about the poignant lyrics, the difficulties of creating and performing music which perfectly capture the feelings these lyrics evoke, or DJ Kilmore's unique idea of using samples of band members' voices and music on all these new songs. After seeing Incubus perform on October 18, 2002 at Atlanta's Hi Fi Buys Theatre, however, I suspect that the reason this line of inquiry escaped the journalists' minds is because when you are in Incubus's presence, you have no alternative but to be happy and have fun.

The moment the lights went down and a video of the sun rising was projected onto the stage's backdrop, the crowd erupted after waiting with much anticipation. photo of Mike from Incubus copyright Emily Noelle IgnacioAs guitarist Mike Einziger and drummer Jose Pasillas played the first few notes of Circles, the audience roared, crouched, and got ready to jump up and down in time. This energy was also manifested on stage; bassist Dirk Lance mirrored the music and paced around in circles, stomping to each beat. And, lead singer, Brandon Boyd's syncopated movements conveyed the urgency of the song, which were particularly emphatic as he sang about arriving at a moment of clarity: "instead I PUSHED reWIND, reVERSED, and drove a-WAY/ and seeing you disappear in my rearview/ brought to me the word RE-ci-PRO-ci-TY." Throughout the 20+ song set, Incubus performed with this high level of intensity. But as each song progressed, the audience was also attuned to one other important factor: that although each song they played from Morning View, S.C.I.E.N.C.E, and Make Yourself speaks about universal difficulties in interpersonal relationships or reflect realizations about one's Self, the members of Incubus in their performance and in the way they carried their selves onstage conveyed that each of these hurdles can be overcome peacefully and while having much fun.

Precisely at this point of realization, the band launched into Wish You Were Here, and at thisphoto of Brandon Boyd from Incubus copyright Emily Noelle Ignacio moment I was happy because the lyrics unexpectedly took a different turn. Instead of understanding it simply as a message to someone you miss (as Boyd has indicated the lyrics could mean), in this setting, watching the members interact with one another and experiencing the synergy between the band and crowd, I suddenly understood it as a challenge to attain a peaceful state of being, regardless of Life's rollercoaster. That inspiring bridge ("the world's a rollercoaster/ and I am not strapped in/ maybe I should hold with care/ but my hands are busy in the air. . . I wish you were here") became a challenge to the crowd, a goal that each and everyone should attempt to reach. From that point on, the crowd's collective singing overpowered Brandon Boyd's powerful, melodious voice. From well-known songs such as Warning, Are you In?, and Drive, through the acoustic renditions of Mexico and 11am, to even unreleased songs such as I Miss You, Make Yourself, Glass, Just a Phase, and The Warmth, everyone in the amphitheater sang each and every word along with the band. Whether performed acoustically while sitting on a couch or jumping in front of brightly colored lights and projected images, Incubus cultivated and encouraged intimacy and warmth in this outdoor amphitheater. If you are lucky enough to see Incubus in these last few days of the Morning View tour, please do so. It is rare to emerge from a high profile (and poorly labeled "nu metal") concert filled with Hope and self-confidence. And as we brace ourselves for another year-and-a-half round of self-absorbed pop stars, Incubus will be sorely missed.

Go here to view more photos from this show