Photos By: Jeanette LeBlanc

Words By: Gerrod Harris

Hot off the release of their most recent album, 8, Incubus brought their current North American tour to Toronto’s Budweiser Stage, along with show opener Jimmy Eat World.

Walking on to a near full audience and a stage lit up by street lights, Jimmy Eat World kicked off their set with “Sure And Certain”.  Jimmy Eat World are currently in the midst of promoting Integrity Blues, which was released just over a year ago.  The band played three songs from their new record, the show opener “Sure And Certain”, “Get Right” (both of which were lead singles for the album), and “Pass The Baby”, a song that I would call a definite highlight to their set and a true evolution to their sound as it took a slight nod from Nine In Nails to create an eerie blend of electronic and instrumental textures to create a soundscape of disaster that ended with a blaring digital drone which grew to block out all of the other instruments.  I was not only impressed by this, but I was also quite surprised by this grittier sound.  Aside from this, much of their set felt like a high level nostalgia trip as they blasted through classics of the likes of “Bleed American”, “A Praise Chorus”, and “Hear You Me”; all of which were able to get a large majority of the audience on their feet and singing along.  To close their set, Jimmy Eat World jumped into what is likely their biggest hit, “The Middle” which made the entire venue feel like an early 2000’s party.

Taking the stage to thunderous applause, Incubus blasted into the first single from 8, “Glitterbomb”.  Including this track, the band played through six of the eleven songs from 8, giving their set a healthy blend of new songs with their classic material.  While I was not a big fan of their latest album, I felt that their newer songs- especially “Nimble Bastard”, “Throw Out The Map” and “State Of The Art”- had a nice bust of energy that  really brought the songs to life in their live show.  Incubus put on a great show that definitely reminded the audience that they are among the most innovative and tight alternative rock bands to come out of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Front man Brandon Boyd sang as youthfully as ever while dancing around the stage almost constantly, making him very entertaining to watch.  The only times he would stand still was when he had a guitar in hand, otherwise he was always on the go. Drummer José Pasillas’ and bassist Ben Kenney– who added harmonized vocals in the higher range above Boyd- grooves created a solid foundation for the improvising and experimental nature of DJ Chris Kilmore and underrated-guitarist-extraordinaire Mike Einziger to take the lead with their impressive lines.  I would have preferred if the band had a bit more of a spotlight to really highlight just how great they are as even during the guitar solos, the spotlight was primarily on Boyd.  While the band also typically takes an instrumental track on their albums, Incubus chose to highlight “Make No Noise In The Digital Forest” as this night’s instrumental break.  The song itself on the record is cool, but live it felt dragging and anticlimactic as it would have been far more entertaining to see them jam on something else or something entirely improvised.  Highlights from their set included “Megalomaniac”, “Circles”, “Warning”, “Nice To Know You”, “Drive”, “Anna Molly”, and “Pardon Me”, as well as a brief cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”, all of which were performed flawlessly.  To end their set, in a strange choice, Einziger jumped onto the lute as Incubus brought us all this much closer to spiritual nirvana with their soothing and incredibly zen “Aqueous Transmission”.

For myself, I have been waiting to see Incubus for a very long time as I have missed them on their last few Toronto stops, but Incubus held up to the initial excitement upon discovering Morning View and Make Yourself in high school.  In fact, they exceeded my high expectations and put on a great show which explains why fans come to see them year after year.   Not only do their classics still hold up as exceptional alternative rockers, but their newer material which teeters closer to modern rock and pop allows for Incubus to remain innovative and prevents them from coasting on their nostalgia alone.  All in all, this is a band definitely worth checking out!

Incubus Setlist:

1: Glitterbomb

2: Circles

3: Nimble Bastard

4: Anna Molly

5: Love Hurts

6: Megalomaniac

7: If Not Now, When?

8: Wish You Were Here

9: State Of The Art

10: Pardon Me

11: Drive

12: Dig

13: Pantomime

14: Nice To Know You

15: Loneliest

16: Make No Sound In The Digital Forest

17: Throw Out The Map

18: Warning

19: Aqueous Transmission



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