Last Night: Incubus at Revention Music Center

Incubus' Brandon Boyd onstage at Revention Music Center
Incubus' Brandon Boyd onstage at Revention Music Center Photo by Jack Gorman
Revention Music Center
November 24, 2019

When Incubus released Make Yourself in October 1999, it was a breath of fresh air.

In a genre inundated with melancholy and misogyny, the California quintet's life-affirming lyrics served as proof that nu-metal didn't have to be oppressively angsty. Led by Brandon Boyd's soaring vocals and surfer-boy aesthetic, the group also demonstrated the genre's ability to appeal to the fairer sex.

Having outlasted most of their peers, Incubus embarked on a three-months-long victory lap earlier this year, a celebration of the two decades that have passed since their third studio album launched them into the mainstream. On Sunday night, the tour visited a comfortably packed Revention Music Center.

As the lights dimmed, a screen behind the stage illuminated, showing a video of Incubus in its infancy: Sound-checking at Ozzfest, boating down an unidentified river and, of course, smoking weed. Fittingly, thick plumes of smoke wafted through the air inside the venue as the band emerged onstage, greeted warmly by a lively crowd.

The show began with "Privilege," a deceptively positive, aggressive-sounding track. And even though Boyd couldn't quite hit the high notes the way he used to, fans didn't seem to mind. Every time the 43-year-old seemed to approach a misstep, the crowd was there to cushion his fall, chanting along to just about every word he sang.

What followed amounted to a 90-minute singalong. Incubus billed this tour as a celebration of their breakthrough album, and they performed it in its entirety. The evening's standouts were "Stellar," "Drive" and "Pardon Me" - the record's three singles - but just about every track held the crowd's attention, even the lesser-known cuts.

Once they had finished performing the album, Incubus launched into their latest single "Into The Summer," a return to the band's funkier roots, followed by a handful of tracks from Morning View, A Crow Left Of The Murder, Light Grenades and 8. All told, fans were treated to 20 tracks from the band's extensive catalog, including a taste of what to expect from their next offering.

Twenty years since its release, Make Yourself endures a sincere collection of alt-rock tunes, written by an eclectic group of talented musicians. It may not be timeless but, judging by the crowd's median age on Sunday night, it likely holds a special place in many of their hearts.

Here's to another two decades of Boyd's hopeful lyricism and Incubus' ethereal vibes.

Nowhere Fast
The Warmth
When It Comes
Make Yourself
Battlestar Scralatchtica
I Miss You
Pardon Me
Out From Under
Into The Summer
Sick Sad Little World
Are You In?
No Fun

Anna Molly
Wish You Were Here

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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever