Review + Photography by Nikki Rodgers

“Is Incubus still a band?” is mounted as one of the top 4 Google searches to include the word ‘Incubus’ at the moment, which is interesting considering they’re currently getting ready to wrap their final dates of a world tour, their first in many years. That being said, the atmosphere in tonight’s completely sold out o2 Academy definitively confirms that an army of people in Birmingham never forgot about them for a second.

Incubus 4

Support tonight comes from Australian dance rock artist Ecca Vandal, who takes to the stage in a brash yellow playsuit (think Kill Bill) and precedes to spend 30 minutes screaming at the front row and battering the air with throws of bright white hair. The performance provided by both her, and her small band, is energetic, confident and extremely loud. A slow start from the already busy crowd is quickly turned around by her apparent need to enjoy the hell out of her show regardless of what everyone else is thinking; it’s a tactic that works well right through to the end of a set which leaves 3000 people with their arms aloft.

Ecca Vandal 1

Ecca Vandal 2

As the lights extinguish, Incubus slowly take to the stage one by one, appeasing an extremely appreciative crowd. The field of bouncing bodies is immediate as they kick off the show with ‘Privilege’ their opening number from 1999’s ‘Make Yourself’. Birmingham is clearly up for this, and you wouldn’t be foolish to assume the smiles on the faces of the the usually cool and moody Californians means they can sense it. Before continuing with the set, they’re sure to inject yet more energy into the venue by mixing the song in with a snippet of Punjabi MC’s ‘Mundian to Bach Ke’. Odd choice, but it works!

Incubus 2

The opening act in what proves to be a career spanning set is loaded with hits, sticking largely to singles as they rattle through visceral versions of songs like ‘Anna Molly’ and ‘Megalomaniac’. Crowd pleaser ‘Pardon Me’ emerges at the half way point of the show as if to sarcastically remind the totally captivated audience who they came to see. By the time we hear newer music from the band’s most recent offering (2017’s ‘8’), front man and noughties rock heart throb Brandon Boyd has elected to remove his shirt to sing ‘no fun’, coaxing a girlish teenage scream from some clearly 30+ women in the front row.

Incubus 1

Incubus 6

Although the set includes small snippets of covers occasionally woven into the band’s own songs, a high point comes in the form of an even more subdued version of Chris Isaak’s 1990 hit ‘wicked game’. Boyd executes the vocal falsetto beautifully as he moves forward to address the room quietly, one of the few times he does so during the evening. A man of few words, he simply asks “Is everybody in..?” Naturally, the crowd eats it up as Incubus provides a version of ‘Are You In’ that culminates in a perfectly segued singalong to Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’.

Incubus 3

In a similar fashion, Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ is blended in with the band’s song of the same name to finish the show and set a foundation for the encore. Said encore see’s their biggest hit ‘Drive’ start off with some beautiful stripped back Rhodes piano interplay between Boyd and turntablist/synth player Chris Kilmore for what is easily the biggest crowd pleaser of the evening. Finishing off with the title track from their 2004 smash hit album ‘A Crow left of the Murder’, the band assemble centre stage arm in arm to enjoy a prolonged curtain call with a highly approving room full of their fans. With only 3 UK dates on the calendar, people have travelled from all over the country for this show, and if the response is anything to go by, it wasn’t a wasted journey for anyone.

Incubus 11Incubus 9

Incubus 8

Leave a Reply