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