Written by Cassandra Paiva, photos by Phil DeSimone (FromThePhotoPit.com)
It was a night full of little twists as I prepared to watch Incubus take the stage at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA on September 9 as part of their If Not Now, When? tour.
Twists such as meeting up with my former intern friends to get into the Young the Giant meet and greet (only 20 feet away from Incubus, damnit!), the weather being pretty much perfect (which is usually unlikely when I go to shows at this venue), and most importantly a few twists in Incubusâ€™ set, such as a mini acoustic set and a different spin on one of their Monuments and Melodies singles.
Starting off the evening, Young the Giant took the stage. Having seen them perform as the headliners before, I knew the amount of energy they packed into their sets (think, crowd rushing the stage for a massive dance party during â€œMy Bodyâ€). While their set was pretty solid, the crowd wasnâ€™t paying full attention, which is understandable since the majority of the audience hadnâ€™t entered and the ones who had were just settling in to their seats. Considerably, thatâ€™s one of the downfalls of the venue, the crowd can enter when they desire and arenâ€™t â€˜forcedâ€™ to watch the opener.
But despite the less than half attendance, Young the Giant made it count as they played to the people who were watching, as lead singer Sameer Gadhia beat his tambourine against FranÃ§ois Comtoisâ€™s cymbal and guitarists Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata danced behind.
The bandâ€™s biggest hits of the night were rightly enough, second single â€œCough Syrupâ€ which brought about a small sing a long, and obvious crowd pleaser â€œMy Bodyâ€ which sparked some dancing, jumping, singing and many cheers as it ended the almost 45 minute set.
A few fans in the front called to Gadhia, who threw picks and a crumpled setlist, and Comtois threw his drumsticks. The slightly buzzed man next to me saw that I knew a few songs, and asked me who the band was and where they were from, showing interest as he stated that he thought they were good. As the old saying goes, to gain even just one fan makes everything worth it.
As intermission brought more and more people in, there was nothing but positive signs that the crowd would come alive for Incubus. A ladder was thrown down, and the audience cheered as staff members climbed to the light scaffold. As minute a detail this was, the cheering showed signs of life and brewing excitement, which is a fundamental factor for a great show.
Also, probably unnoticed by many as it was difficult to read, Incubusâ€™ twitter feed was playing on the screens beside the stage.
At about 8:30, the crowd starting screaming as Incubus took the stage and played the first few chords of â€œMegalomaniac.â€ Increasing the energy, Brandon Boyd held the mic stand out to the audience in a crowd only sing a long to â€œstep down, step down.â€
Keeping the pacing and interaction, â€œWish You Were Hereâ€ followed and half way through, Boyd stepped away from the mic with his hands in prayer formation to show his appreciation to the crowd.
If Not Now, When? single â€œAdolescentsâ€ was next and for some reason the sound was a little sketchy, as the mic started to pop and feedback. Despite that, the energy remained and led into â€œAnna Mollyâ€ where there was finally some fist pumping and head banging from the crowd.
The next string of songs you could call the lull of the show. â€œPromises, Promisesâ€ (my favorite new single) started to lose attention, maybe because fans werenâ€™t as familiar with it. The couple in front of me (who were already annoying as it was, not even singing a long to â€œAnna Mollyâ€) sat down, and a few others followed suit. Really slow track, â€œIf Not Now, When?â€ brought along some more audio issues as the mic popped and the keyboard was extremely loud almost drowning the vocals. However, the audience loved Boydâ€™s extended note and guitar playing.
Half way through the song, â€œPrivilegeâ€ ended the lull as Boyd sang to a specific part of the audience in front and concluded with a short â€œthanks boys and girls.â€
Previously unseen from the audience, â€œConsequenceâ€ started a mosh pit as DJ Kilmore mixed it up and Boyd jumped around. A jazzy jam concluded and led into â€œAre You In?â€ where the mix master continued and Jose Pasillas laid down a steady beat. The â€œoohsâ€ started a â€œRiders of the Stormâ€ cover which transitioned to the end of the song and the intro of â€œVitamin.â€ The lights were set to a rain down effect as Boyd played the drums.
Another small lull proceeded, as â€œIn the Company of Wolvesâ€ strummed along with a long instrumental. The lights lowered as Boyd got spiritual as he sang â€œI was alive, I think for the first time.â€
The band set up for their mini surprise, a short acoustic set where Boyd introduced Michael Einziger who sat in a chair and started the chords of â€œDefiance.â€ Big, pink circle lights descended and Boyd introduced Ben Kenney for the acoustic version of â€œPaper Shoes,â€ which featured a guitar solo full of finger picking goodness.
Animal calls and a steady drumbeat kicked off crowd pleaser â€œThe Warmth.â€ The group standing next to me was really getting into this song, singing a long and dancing like crazy, as was the majority of the crowd. Feeling the warmth, Boyd took his shirt off for â€œA Crow Left of the Murderâ€ as he crooned â€œDo you get it yet?â€
A recognizable bass riff started, however it was a lot lower than the original version of the song. Hereâ€™s the twist I mentioned earlier, an alternate version of â€œDigâ€ with basically no melody but a heavier tone. Being most excited for them to play this song, I was a little disappointed at the diluted version, but it allowed for grooving out and into the massive sing a long to â€œDrive.â€
An Incubus classic, the crowd was extremely involved singing and jumping and fist pumping. This continued into â€œSwitchbladeâ€ where the audience seemed a little less familiar, but just as energized. The last song of the set, â€œNice to Know Youâ€ started with Boyd ska-ing and DJ Kilmore mixing.
After the main set ended, one of the most amazing things occurred. The crowd came together in cheers and banged the seats and held up lighters calling the band back. Now, Iâ€™ve seen lighters held high during ballads, but never for an encore, so that was a pretty awesome thing to witness.
Incubus then delivered, coming back with â€œPardon Meâ€ where everyone went crazy in excitement. â€œTomorrowâ€™s Foodâ€ ended the show at around 10:15, featuring a wacked out slideshow that played images of depression era children growing up, food processes, and metamorphosis. The audience seemed confused, if not a little disgusted.
In summary, the show was full of energy from the band, if only the crowd could have maintained the same energy levels throughout. Later in the night, Boyd tweeted, â€œOh man. Mass. You all really did it this time, didn’t you. That was my favorite show I think we’ve ever had here! @IncubusBandâ€ To conclude, I rate shows on if I would see the band again, and after this show, I would see Incubus again!