Incubus gave an on-point performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl last Thursday, October 5, sounding energized, vibrant, and as tight as their recordings. Following the opening band, new-wave group Dreamcar, Incubus’s set list began with “Glitterbomb” off of this year’s album, 8, which is ardent and contemplative, similar to the sound of their seven previous records yet with a particular freshness. Up next was early, hard-rock hit “Circles” from the band’s best-selling 2001 album, Morning View. The track highlighted Incubus’s dynamic features — outrageous guitar solos, formidable drumming, and the vocal prowess of frontman Brandon Boyd.
The performance was visually stunning, featuring a spectacular light show and a video screen with close-up projections of the band, their hands working overtime during some of the virtuosic instrumental components. Other highlights included two hits off of 2006 album Light Grenades: “Anna Molly,” a sensitive departure in terms of lyrical content though equally voltaic in orchestration, and the deliciously angsty “Love Hurts,” sung beautifully by Boyd and proving to be quite the crowd-pleaser. There’s really nothing like listening to thousands of audience members singing, “Without love I won’t survive,” with smiling faces.