Incubus | Review
Ulster Hall, Belfast • 10 September ’18
Words: Conor Charlton • Photos: Tremaine Gregg
The Los Angeles band, formed in 1991 by charismatic vocalist Brandon Boyd, guitarist Mike Einzinger and drummer Jose Pasillas rose to the height of their success in the late nineties and early 2000s when ‘nu metal’ bands such as Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park shared the rock radio airwaves.
Albums such as Make Yourself (1999) and Morning View (2001-2002) were not only critically acclaimed but displayed the band’s ability to continuously blend pop, alternative metal, and hip-hop through great song-crafting and intelligent production.
These two factors came to light in the band’s performance on stage at the (mostly full) Ulster Hall. Preceded by bouncy, screamy Australian dance-rock act Ecca Vandal. After a small period of set up time, the group took to stage one by one, calmly and confidently awaiting the moment to please their eager fan base, with their song ‘Privilege’, which cleverly sampled the Panjabi MC hit ‘Mundian to Bach Ke’. Backed by the mesmerising visuals, they were able to weave tracks from their 2017 studio album 8 such as ‘No Fun’ and ‘State of the Art’.
In addition, they played their more well-known known numbers – ‘Are You In?’ which effortlessly trailed off into a Snoop Dogg ‘Gin and Juice’ cover and an emotional ‘Wish You Were Here’; which ended with an incredibly moving tribute to the legendary Pink Floyd song of the same name. At this point, if Incubus hadn’t already shown that they were still relevant after 27 years, they were going to do it once again in their three-song encore that included their biggest single ‘Drive’, which reached the top of Billboard’s modern rock charts in 2001. This was something that the now shirtless (and incredibly ripped for a 42-year-old) Boyd was confident enough to perform acapella, ensuring that the 17-year-old song wasn’t ever going to be mundane. To many in the crowd, this was more than just music, it was akin to a religious experience as if the spirit of their nostalgia had allowed them to transcend to another realm.