London WC2 Astoria

Cute, spunky and chock-full of radio-friendly rock tunes, [B]Incubus[/B] are coming your way.

When Californian nu-metal funk-rock act Incubus said they were coming to the UK, their label foresaw a low-key gig at one of the capital's less salubrious indie toilets. They got it wrong. Within hours of being announced, they'd sold out the Astoria - no mean feat for a band with virtually zero TV and radio exposure in this country. Another date was added, and again it sold out in nanoseconds. Such is the buzz surrounding the band.

It's not hard to see why the world is going ape for Incubus. They offer a radio-friendly take on the sports metal sound, blending sledgehammer riffs with inventive melodia and stadium rock nous. They also use funk-rock riffs that RATM would die for and the big shorts brigade lap up like dogs.

As the five good-looking beach bums take to the stage, we notice that, in among the traditional male heavy metal greeting calls of "Fuuuuuck!" and "Fuuuckin' yeah", there are excited FEMALE voices, squealing in ecstasy at the site of Incubus. The focus for their clammy-palmed devotion - one Brandon Boyd. The handsome, didgeridoo-playing frontman of Incubus. He with the model girlfriend, heartbreaker looks and 'sensitive' lyrics.

Boyd's a born star, the focus point for Incubus' 21st-century rock show - then there's the dreadlocked DJ Kilmore scratching away in the corner and the two cute guitarists Dirk and Mike politely jigging around a huge palate of FX pedals. Motvrhead they ain't.

The hits, mostly drawn from their latest album 'Make Yourself', come thick and fast, each performed with such zeal by Boyd that it's difficult to dismiss this band as, what some cynics suggest they are, the heavy metal Backstreet Boys. Things fall a little flat when they decide to 'treat' us to a funk-inspired jam of such little substance and Joe Satriani guitar-work that it's difficult not to laugh out loud, particularly when the didgeridoo comes into play. Still, the Incubus faithful are so enraptured by this point that Brandon and co could belch and they'd be applauded.

Cute, spunky and chock-full of radio-friendly rock tunes, Incubus are coming your way.

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