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Incubus Rocked At SPAC – Dru’s Review

I had the very great pleasure of witnessing one of my favorite bands take the stage at SPAC last night.  Here follows an account of the supreme awesome power of a band called Incubus.

Fact 1: Incubus hails from California

Fact 2: Incubus consists of five extraordinarily talented individuals

Fact 3: Incubus has released eight albums to-date.

Fact 4: Incubus kicks ass.

I am a self-confessed Incubus geek!  Having their albums and listening to them incessantly is only half the story!  At one point in time, I was “one of those” fans that spent countless hours researching the band and the members’ likes and dislikes on the internet.  Some might say it was borderline obsessive, but I would counter by calling you a mere stupidhead.

Last night was my first experience seeing them live and as a completely NON-threatening, sane fan, I couldn’t have been more pleased.  The opening band for this tour went by one of the most memorable band names I’ve encountered in quite a long time – Young the Giant.  For no particular reason is this name superb; it just is.  My first thought upon hearing them play was that this is what you’d get if Modest Mouse and Chris Martin decided to combine powers and start a band.  If I closed my eyes, I had visions of Fall Television Drama trailers dancing in my head.  The crowd, however, really seemed to enjoy them and that’s really all you can ask for.

When it came time for the main event, I was beyond excited.  It didn’t even matter that some hippies in flower dresses and hemp shorts were obstructing my view of the stage; when you’re at a show featuring a band as laid back as Incubus, you have to get your brotherly love on.

Speaking of, I have to say Brandon Boyd is probably one of the most pleasant personalities I’ve ever seen in a band of their calibur.  He was all smiles and  just seemed genuinely honored and happy to be on stage and performing for us.  I got the impression that it didn’t matter to him if there were 12 or 1,200 people in the audience.  He was where he needed and wanted to be.  He made me happy to be sharing the experience with him, and yes, I know how gag-worthy that sounds.  I’m a girl and sometimes I act like it.  Deal with it.

I thought it was a little odd/amusing/cheap, however, that the delightful Mr. Boyd kept refering to the crowd as the “people of New York.”  I understand being on the road and constantly toking touring takes a toll on one’s mind, one can get easily confused, but I always feel special when a band makes it more personal by yelling out the name of the town or city where the show is happening.  The personal touch always gives you that special feeling, so I was slightly disappointed that no shouts of “Saratoga” or “Albany” emanted from the stage.

I was, however, impressed with the stage effects for the show.  One giant screen that broadcast random images interspersed with shots of the live stage action was more entertaining, and not as confusing as it sounds.  I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the live footage on the screen was out of synch with what was happening on stage by only a few seconds, but it gave the whole picture a kind of ethereal experience that was very exciting!  Part of me really hopes that’s how it was planned out to be.

The only strange thing about their set was when they played “Talk Show on Mute,” one of their biggest hits off their album A Crow Left of Murder.  Anyone who’s heard it knows it’s a pretty energetic song, but for whatever reason the band decided to perform an acoustic version.  Normally, you can’t go wrong with a decision like that.  Acoustic usually makes things even better, and causes yours truly tear up more often than not.  This time around though, I just sat there asking myself how much weed they had to smoke to convince themselves that this was a good idea.  It made the song feel too slow and dull, which was rather disappointing.

I was pleased that the band played a wide variety of songs from most, if not all, their albums.  You normally don’t get the same range with some bands who like to take the same set list on every tour they’ve been on.  The only one missing, or maybe I just missed it?, was “Warning” from the album Morning View.  Not only does this one hold a special spot in my pantheon of great Incubus music, but the video has always stuck in my mind.  As simple as it appears, there’s something very powerful about a seemingly passive woman shouting at the world to wake up and take a look at what’s really going on around us.  Couple that with the lyrics and a heartbreaking melody and call it a winner.

My favorite moment came when the band returned to the stage for the encore!  They ended with two songs, the latter of which I was unfamiliar with, but the first one was “Megalomaniac” – the end all, be all, penultimate Incubus song!  It was perfect!  It was hard to decide what I should be concentrating on more, the song or the images on-screen behind them.  Random flashes of life, death, decay, happiness, beauty, sadness, and love.  It was spectacular.

At the end of it all, the band was still smiling – and so was I.

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