When you think of certain bands, you often picture the members placed in an environment that reminds you of their style. Whether that be with Ozzie Osborne, maybe out in the woods, chewing off heads of bats, or a clean-cut boy band like One Direction, hanging out in their multi-million dollar homes as see on TV, or the Rolling Stones tearing up hotel rooms throwing old-school, CRT tube TVs, out the window. When you think of Incubus, California hippie surf-dudes quickly comes to mind.
Stereotypically, they fit the bill, with a lead vocalist sporting long hair, unshaven face, and long beads, of course. And the seasoned dreadlocks on the keyboardist, Chris Kilmore, leave you with a reggae “beachy” feel, you’d hazard a guess their surfboards are leaning on a wall backstage somewhere. Regardless how you picture them, the guys can rock!
They’ve been in business for over two decades and have over seven albums under their belts. As of late, they have embraced the quick-release digital world and have begun offering EPs as soon as the music is ready, an interesting departure from the standard traditional album release methods.
The latest is entitled Trust Fall (Side A) with a (Side B) on the way. They have sold over 13 million albums and thirteen top ten hits with four singles debuting at number one, upon their release. Not to shabby for a bunch of guys hanging out on the beach.
Incubus HQ Live project is also blazing some new trails, experimenting with features of the digital age. They set up shop for six nights in a Los Angeles storefront, playing intimate shows for fans and streaming them online. Boyd says the project gave Incubus “ideas about subscription-based concerts online” along with other ideas for future marketing and distribution.
Hailing from Calabasas, California, this quintet of Brandon Boyd, Mike Einziger and Jose Pasillas formed Incubus in 1991 while they were in high school with Chris Kilmore, on keys and turntables, joining in 1998 and Ben Kenney on bass, joining in 2003.
Their big break came with the singles, “Pardon Me,” “Stellar” and “Drive,” from their second full-length, triple-platinum, appropriately titled album, Make Yourself.
Setlist covered all the bases, with new tracks, their classics and even a deep-cut, from back in the day. The crowd sang in response to many of the songs, and it was plain to see Boyd appreciated the effort. A very charismatic performer, he had the crowd eating out of his hand, and hopefully he carries hand sanitiser.
And Mike Einziger on guitar was something special, he creates interesting and layered guitar sounds, with masterful use of pedal-effects, an innovator really, named by many, as one of the top living guitarists on the planet. You would find him tuning his guitar and tinkering with the pedals in-between each song.
The group’s third album, Morning View, released in 2001, debuted at number two on the album charts and included the radio hits “Wish You Were Here,” “Nice to Know You” and “Warning.” In 2004, Incubus released A Crow Left of the Murder which achieved platinum status on the strength of the one of there mega hits “Megalomanic.”
Of course, their MTV profile warrants a few instruments, not normally associated with a rock band, a goblet-shaped kettle drum called a djembe and turntables, yes turntables, which are incorporated into many of their songs, lends a distinguishing sound. I was hoping to see Boyd with his vintage-style mic, but it must have been misplaced somewhere or left at home for safe keeping while on the Asian leg of their international would tour.
Photographically, an interesting twist came at the media briefing. They varied from the standard first 3 songs no flash to song 4, 5 and 6 on the setlist, that’s unusual but went well, it allows the band to get warmed up, and Brandon Boyd was already showing the sweaty signs of rock and roll by the time we entered the photo-pit area.
Hat’s off to the boys in the band, near perfect from all aspects of live entertaining, they make it look easy, a job well done, an exhilarating night of music!
Big thanks going out to the folks at Ovation Productions for yet again, another smashing event…