Incubus at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, 3rd November 2011
Review by Chris Davis

When I saw Incubus were visiting the UK again, I couldn’t wait to get hold of tickets, they are constantly on my playlist.  At that point I hadn’t heard the new album although I had read a few mixed reviews.  Then I bought the album.  First thoughts were quite mixed ranging from “this isn’t Incubus…” to “I can’t get that song out of my head”.  Now, after numerous plays it’s a firm favourite.  Whilst it lacks some of the edge of previous albums, the vocal performance is immense and the songs verge on greatness.  The album is definitely a grower, but with the mixed reviews and my initial reactions I was a bit apprehensive as to how the new numbers might be received.

This was the band’s first visit to the UK since playing the Download Festival in 2008 (their only UK gig that year), their previous appearances being part of their 2007 world tour when they played mainly the stadium venues – NEC Birmingham (where I saw them live for the first time), SECC Glasgow, Manchester arena etc.  Compared to this the Civic was a small intimate venue and, in my opinion, a great choice for their first UK gig of this tour.

Brandon Boyd is a man of few words (between songs anyway…) but from the moment the band came on to a rapturous welcome until the close he held the audience in the palm of his hand.  Starting with old favourites “Privilege” and “Wish you were here” immediately put the audience in familiar territory.  This was followed by “Adolescents” off the new album and the audience reaction showed that my apprehension was unfounded.  The pattern was then set for the remainder of the gig – “pardon me” followed by new songs “Promises, promises” and “Isadore”.  The new material slotted effortlessly in with the old and got the same enthusiastic reception.

“In the company of wolves” (in the company of Wolves fans?) with it’s chill-out close preceded the acoustic section of “Defiance” and “Love hurts”, and was followed by a different take on “Are you in” which, in true Incubus style, broke into a few bars of  the Doors’ “Riders on the storm”, much to the delight of the crowd.

It’s impossible to pick highlights – the whole gig with its intimate feel, effortless musicianship and soaring vocals was a tour de force.  The only downsides were my eldest daughter fainting in the heat which meant that she and I had to listen to the last three numbers and the encore from the corridor, accompanied by the St John’s Ambulance team (thanks a million for your help guys!), and the chap in front of me who thought it a great idea to video most of the gig on his phone, constantly backing into us and moving from side to side so he could get a better view (I had a great view of his phone and his armpits) and then standing in the middle of our family group so I didn’t even know Hannah had fainted…thanks for being there for her Ade!

In all a great gig, fantastic performance, great selection of songs and a brilliant show from one of the world’s best bands at the peak of their powers.  Can’t wait for the next gig.


Images courtesy of Adrian Brown



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