Review by Billy Geary
It’s fair to say that over the years Californian natives Incubus have traversed more than a few genres in their music, giving rise to one of the more diverse musical fan bases around at present. This was perfectly evident on Tuesday night as everyone from middle agers to remnant 90s grunge kids made the short trek to Festival Hall from Southern Cross Station for a dose of Incubus.
Sydneysiders Papa vs. Pretty had the envious job of opening up proceedings, putting on a tight set for the slowly filling room. The trio have a had a massive last year, which has seen them come on in leaps and bounds, especially in terms of their live show. Their high energy set of melodic rock was perfect fodder for the early arriving punters, garnering a big cheer from the entire room as their set concluded. If this set is anything to go by, expect big things from these three gentlemen in 2012.
Leaping straight into the one-two punch of crowd favourites ‘Megalomaniac’ and ‘Pardon Me,’ Incubus quickly had the entirety of Festival Hall in nostalgia mode as we were all brought back to 2004. ‘Pardon Me’ in particular had a raucous response, with 99% of the room screaming the chorus at the tope of their voice. Perfect renditions of ‘Stellar’ and ‘Anna Molly’ only continued the trend, treating the band’s older fans in the best way possible. Lead singer and resident heartthrob of the night Brandon Boyd kept the audience fixated throughout; very clearly enjoying the band’s first outing to Australia in quite a while.
With the plethora of great songs that Incubus has, it was easy to forget that they were touring in support of their new album; 2011’s ‘If Not Now, When?’ however the band was quick to remind us of the fact, with the newer songs standing up perfectly against their back catalogue. ‘Promises, Promises’ and ‘Switchblade’ were easily the standouts of the newer songs and despite them being on the commercially safer side of Incubus’ discography, they were every bit as outstanding as the band’s older music.
The beauty of Incubus’ set is that there really was something for everyone, with the band pulling out all their big guns ranging from the more sombre and mellow ‘Drive’ right through to the heavier and more upbeat ‘Nice To Know You,’ surely pleasing the entire spectrum of the audience. However, it was ‘Wish You Were Here’ that drew the biggest response of the night, with the term ‘raising the roof’ not nearly being accurate enough to describe the song’s response.
The somewhat predictable two song encore of ‘Magic Medicine’ and mega hit ‘A Certain Shade of Green’ capped off an all round impressive night. While Incubus may be toning their sound down on record in recent times, the sextet remains a scintillating live act. Most importantly though, even after over 20 years as a band, Incubus still love a good old fashioned rock show and that’s exactly what they delivered on Tuesday night in Melbourne. It was clear that, as the punters walked out into the cool night air, every single one was leaving completely satisfied with the night’s proceedings. Above all else, that’s the sign of a great show.
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