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Incubus
October 7, 2001
At The Aerial Theater
Houston, TX

by Samuel Barker
November 3, 2001

Sometimes you go to see a band and realize this is probably the last time you’ll see them under the circumstances at hand. You come to grips that this band is beyond the theatres and clubs, and has reached the level of arena rockers. Those in attendance at the October 7th Incubus show got a last look at what this band is like in a small theatre. This show sold out in record time and slackers were adorned the sidewalks looking to get some last minute tickets that we nowhere to be found.

The house was steadily filling up throughout the mediocre performance by The Start. People were more or less looking over the merch booths and trying to get their places for Incubus rather than paying attention to the drab techno-rock on stage. I was beginning to sympathize with the musicians who have drunken fans yelling song titles out over and over after hearing the lead vocalist keep yelling "Houston!" repeatedly as a last ditch effort to get applause.

The Start did supply a pathetically funny quote for the review, "Turn off your TV, don’t let them think for you, think for yourself, buy our record." (Note the lack of a pause or laughter) This was definitely the illustration of the old saying, "Look out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing."

After a short break, the lights went down and everyone began to feel the energy rise as Incubus readied themselves to come on the stage. As they came out the band broke into ‘Stellar,’ the opening track from their album Make Yourself. The first three songs of the night were from Make Yourself and had the audience going wild. The joy of Incubus is the hard-edged music that doesn’t come with a harsh vocal track or pathetic attempt at rap, it’s heartfelt SINGING done by lead vocalist Brandon Boyd.

Boyd, who was the object of many screams from the adolescent female attendees, showed no slowing down throughout the set and kept the energy high for all his adoring fans.

The highlight of the set for me was the two song acoustic set put in the middle of the performance. Boyd took a stool and Mike Einziger did the same as the rest of the band took a break for the soon to be popular 'Mexico' from their then yet to be released Morning View album. As soon as they finished that track everyone knew what to expect, Boyd and Einziger began to play 'Drive.' This led to everyone singing along and really brought everything together. As the song progressed the rest of the band made their way out to join in. It was nice touch to add to the set.

As the set rolled on, people began to get lazy and started standing around. This led to a Mr. Bungle-ish version of Vitamin that went off into a free-form jazz break then into the chorus of Like A Virgin, then right back into Vitamin. This took everyone who was getting lazy and pulled the right back into the set.

The initial set came to a close with the latest hit from Incubus, the first single off of Morning View, ‘Wish You Were Here.’ This too led to everyone unifying into song and left everyone there wanting more, which they got in a stellar encore.

This was bittersweet night. The good is that everyone got a treat in seeing Incubus in such a small venue, but it was sad because it’s probably the last chance for that anyone will get in a while.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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