The Rebirth of Rock

Incubus - Wiltern Theatre
Los Angeles, California - February 13, 2007

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2007, Volume 14, #3

Written by Michael Cooney


Incubus is back. Well, the Los Angeles-based quintet never actually stopped making music, but the recording industry as a whole of late has seemed fixated almost incessantly upon marketing mediocre American Idol wannabes and watered-down hip-hop that was built for suburban white boys. So, it might have been easy to forget that rock ’n‘ roll ever even existed. Equally problematic is the fact that Incubus’ 2005 studio effort A Crow Left of the Murder turned out to be less than stellar. Although its most recent work — last year’s Light Grenades — spawned a handful of smaller-scale hits, it hardly was a return to the start of the decade when the group virtually ruled the airwaves of modern rock radio. When the guys returned Los Angeles in mid-February and took the stage for the final performance of a sold-out, three-night stay at the Wiltern Theatre, however, Incubus single-handedly managed (for one night, at least) to revive the raw power of rock music.

Throngs of teenagers and 20-somethings filled the stately-looking, grand theater. They arrived wearing their Sunday best, with carefully quaffed hair, button-down shirts, smart neck ties, and layered makeup. From the evening’s first note, a chorus of joyous young voices sang along with every lyric of every song until the show’s conclusion.

For their part, the members of Incubus were surprisingly, impeccably good. Together, drummer José Pasillas and bass player Ben Kenney displayed near-perfect musicianship as they propelled the band throughout its booming, frantically frenzied set. While guitarist Michael Einziger routinely thrilled the capacity crowd with his sound effects, pedals, and thunderously satisfying power chords, front man Brandon Boyd was a legitimate sex symbol. Often shirtless, he danced and gyrated his wiry frame all over the stage, and his every movement delighted the mass of screaming, young women. Feeding off the fans’ boundless energy and aided by a dazzling light show, Incubus was consistently explosive. The group repeatedly made the house rumble from the floor to the rafters with hits like Nice to Know You; Dig; and a steely, acoustic version of Pardon Me.

The entire evening was simply dizzying in its pace and untamed power. Incubus succeeded in making the case that it is still a band with which to be reckoned. Most important of all, however, it proved that rock music is still alive.

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Copyright © 2007 The Music Box