Incubus : Paris Le Bataclan

The most pop-friendly of the nu-metallers get to grips with the French language...

“Sandwich poulet, s’il vous plait” (chicken sandwich please). Brandon Boyd, lead singer and percussionist extraordinaire, is showing off his French to the packed audience of Le Bataclan. “Merci beaucoup Paris; thank you very much.”

And he has reason to thank the fans. Screaming girls and slam-dancing fans confirm that Incubus were right in choosing to play three out of the five European tour dates in France. “You boys and girls havin’ a good time tonight?” Oh yeah. So much so that one enthusiast is thrown off the stage after he decides to slam dance alongside the group. Poor chap… guess there isn’t enough room on the floor, judging from the large number of “slammers”.

The fusion-generated funk/nu-metal band from California plays an energetic 90-minute set of old ‘Favorite Things’ and some new tracks. The audience sings along, Boyd often stopping to let them finish a verse – and create his own by singing [I]”Turn on the air conditioners”[/I] in the hot atmosphere of the cosy venue.

All the tracks are marked by original intros, unrelated to the songs and consisting of either solo guitar riffs, heavy drum beats or some slick record scratching by DJ Chris Kilmore. But other than that, it is hard to perceive – let alone hear – the DJ’s role at a live rock concert, so overpowering is the rhythmic section of Jose Pasillas’s drums and Boyd’s funk-generated percussions, blended with the edgy, screaming, sometimes squeaky guitar licks of Mike Einziger and Dirk Lance.

But Kilmore’s live role does take on a different, more audible spin as they perform some tracks off their upcoming album. “We play a new song for you now, is that cool?” If ‘Nice To Know You’ is any indication, the new album alternates between ‘soft’ riffs, an even more metal sound and more powerful drums – but it’s all still radio-compatible. Incubus are the most pop (read commercial) of the nu-metal generation, possibly due to their fusion of different styles. They appeal to rock fans and “Brandon’s so cute” teen females. The band varies between the Backstreet Boys-go-metal and Rage Against The Machine-go-funk. This blend of metal and funk is their signature.

Incubus make a loud Hendrix-inspired exit. Perhaps their signature way of saying “merci beaucoup”.

Talia Soghomonian

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