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In Review: Incubus in Cape Town

A bucket list rock moment for many in the Mother City.

2 Mar 2018 / Opinion / written by Tecla Ciolfi / Pics by Laura McCullagh

True to Flaketonian form, majority of Cape Town’s crowd arrive just before Incubus’ set, leaving the support acts to fight for every face in their direction.

The A Track’s layout is user-friendly enough and logistically things seem sound, apart from a handful of people bitching about the slow service at the bar but I couldn’t be bothered, tonight’s all about that sober-ish life. After spending majority of Incubus’ set in Pretoria, eyes screwed tightly shut with one hand on my heart and another in the air, I was going to be damned if I didn’t bloody-well focus this time round.

They stroll onto stage with min fanfare and launch straight into the Big Brother-esque ‘Love In A Time Of Surveillance’. The lights come up and there he is. Brandon Boyd, my teenage fantasy come to life with half of his glorious Pantene-sheen hair tied back in a boho bun. Yes lawd.

To Boyd’s right, the lauded Mike Einziger stands, ’69 Telecaster Thinline strapped around him, eyes on his pedalboard as he teases the beginning of ‘Warning’. To my right there’s a cute AF ginger whose glassy eyes are reflecting the 140-odd lights of Incubus’ rig and I want to scream at him to pull himself together. We got 2 hours to go pal.

Boyd greets us and I’m shook – there was very little chit-chat in Pretoria – as I get smacked with a mouthful of braids from the tween in front of me losing her mind to ‘Nimble Bastard’. The 3-part harmonies between Boyd, Einziger and bassist Ben Kenney are honey-like and as they croon “Saaalt ooof the eeearrrth” we are basically not worthy.

“What a perfect night,” Boyd beams. More talking – clearly Cape Town agrees with someone. His vocal control on the subsequent ‘Anna Molly’ is near-flawless, as is his mic technique which ebbs and flows fluidly. Drummer Jose Pasillas’ kit is set-up routinely, right side tipped towards the audience, and is full power as he takes his cue from Boyd.

Einziger again with the tease. This time it’s ‘Megalomaniac’ and the first real mosh of the night as “You’re no Jesus / Yeah, you’re not Elvis” takes on a crazed call-and-response life of its own.

‘Paper Shoes’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ provide a bit of headbang relief but it’s the verse-chorus cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ that evokes several “ooos” and “ahhhs” from around me. It’s as poignant as it was in Pretoria.

Kenney switches between bass and keys for ‘State Of The Art’, my favourite off latest album “8”, and the chorus is bigger than I could’ve envisioned. Trippy, kaleidoscope-like videos light up the backdrop screen during a spitfire rendition of ‘Pardon Me’ and Chris Kilmore’s prominent scratching holds Boyd’s fast-paced verses.

It’s a “Morning View” double-bill with ‘Circles’ and ‘Echo’ before a blackout. Boyd emerges, electric in hand, in the middle of a single spotlight as he riffs out the beginning of ‘Pantomime’. Kenney and Pasillas are goofing off behind him like teens at the back of class, pulling weird moves and faces at each other before they all crash in on cue for an upsurge ending.

They start ‘Sick Sad Little World’ and I move around the crowd to get a better look at Kilmore behind turntables and keys. My timing is flawless. Kilmore’s off his seat, bent over and twirling his majestic dreads around his head as Boyd beats a floor drum in front of Kilmore creating a kind of spacey tribal ritual. It’s one of the best fucking things I’ve ever seen. They throw in a dubstep remix and I’m howling.

‘Talk Shows On Mute’ melts seamlessly into a cover of INXS’ ‘Need You Tonight’ and Boyd’s expert channeling of Michael Hutchence is eerily accurate.

‘I Miss You’ is a standout as they pull all the instruments back in the second verse, leaving Boyd’s tender vocals and Pasillas light drumming to make sweet, simple magic before everyone crashes back in. “This is like acid,” Boyd chuckles, taking a sip out of a flask filled with some kinda golden god nectar concoction that he probably whipped up in his 1700W Nutribullet after a sunrise Yoga session but I digress. He delivers closers ‘No Fun’ and ‘Nice To Know You’ as angsty, fuck you anthems and we’re hanging on every lyric because we know the end is in sight.

We get one encore. Jesus take the wheel and ‘Drive’. Einziger whines into his solo and yip, I’m crying again.

And while Pretoria gave their all to Incubus over the course of a 10-hour-long Saturday event, Cape Town got a better deal with Boyd a hell of a lot more engaging and the setlist about 30 minutes longer. But who really cares? They finally got their shit together to come visit us and aid in multiple bucket list tick offs.

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Check out our exclusive gallery from this event.