Friday Night: Incubus At The Woodlands
Aftermath's dirty little theory is that Incubus is probably one of the most critically underrated modern-rock bands of the past decade. Or, they are justly compartmentalized as a blustery Southern California group whose dreamboat lead singer in Brandon Boyd has enough snaky lyrical chops to make him seem dark and mysterious, backed by some talented musicians including a Harvard-trained guitarist in lead man Mike Einziger.
Here's the thing. Aftermath digs Incubus, but only the Incubus we met in 2001 with the band's artistic leap, Morning View. As we said Friday night, we like our Incubus "Sunny 99.1 Up," meaning we tend to push away the loud, fun old stuff and gravitate to the light-rock, beachy shit like "Are You In?"
But Friday night's show was a strong, voluminous effort, and reminded us what an expertly crafted, well-lit and designed, straight-ahead rock-show experience could be. Neverminding the sandals, girls having photo shoots around us, and rich-kid weed hanging moist in the air. OK, the latter we had no problem with. #brah
The band is touring behind this year's If Not Now, When? which has been one of the most surprisingly satisfying albums we've pushed "play" on this year. The sort of rave-ups that we are used to from the band are on When? in the form of "Adolescents" and "Switchblade," and Friday's set leaned heavy on the brooding shades of of the new material, bringing the brothers and sisters of the album's sound from the rest of their catalog along for the ride.
The night began with the aggressive Bush-era relic "Megalomaniac" from 2004's A Crow Left Of the Murder - for sure a nod to the oncoming Perry regime scare - before softly falling back to Earth with "Wish You Were Here." Friday night's weather, a cool fall breeze and a hanging fingernail of a Moon looming over the Pavilion lawn, wasn't such a bad bonus either (stupid hippie). The nights of sweating at Cynthia Woods may be over for 2011.
Correct us if we are off base - and you no doubt will - but does anyone see a correlation between Incubus and Pearl Jam? Aftermath can't place it. Maybe it's Boyd and Eddie Vedder's similar stage personas, the arms-wide-open balladeering, and the earnest revelry. Pearl Jam without the God complex? The politics? The extensive singles repertoire?
Boyd most definitely has aged as well as Vedder, and the women in the audience let him know it. By the halfway mark in the set, his shirt was open, and by the encore he had been bare-chested for a while. Every move he made was met with what sounded like a jet engine of estrogen revving up behind our seats. Sometimes it all came from the same female, like the one behind us who kept screaming about how hard she would fuck him.