If you thought legacy tours were a fading trend, guess again. Case in point, The Incubus/Deftones/DFA 1979 performance at Austin360 Amphitheater on Monday sold-out well in advance of the date. The alternative rock bands from Southern California who were both popular in the early 2000s have different aesthetics and backgrounds. They also draw different crowds. The heavier, more metal Deftones led by Chino Moreno attracted a sizeable Latino contingent while the Calabasas (West LA suburb) bred Incubus’ core fan appeared to be white, anglo-thirtysomethings reliving their college days. Thus the co-headliners played vastly different sets.
Deftones left the frills at home, opting for hard-driving, at times thundering rhythms in place of flashy lighting. They did use the LCD screens, playing visuals to compliment the performance. The Sacramento natives were at their best when playing guitar-driven, heavier rockers like Rocket Skates or Knife Prty.
What Moreno lacks vocally he makes up with his relentless energy on stage. He was everywhere; shaking hands with fans, crouching atop of a monitor speaker and working both sides of the crowd. Three songs in his white Morrisey t-shirt was soaked through with sweat.
Stephen Carpenter’s guitar work was impressively displayed during a raucous version of Headup that had violent echoes of Rage Against the Machine. The guitarist’s hair flying in the gusts of a stageside fan, he strung burly riffs throughout the set.
The tune prompted a fair amount of headbanging and Moreno was positively dripping with perspiration as Deftones wound up their 16-song set with Engine No 9 the relentless bass line appearing to propel Moreno around the stage like a puppet unable to resist the temptation to ricochet about like a drunken sot. In truth the man must have been exhausted performing at nearly the hottest part of the day in Austin. Deftones took the stage a good hour before sunset.
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
You’ve Seen the Butcher
When Girls Telephone Boys
Change (In the House of Flies)
Engine No. 9
Incubus’ lead singer, Brandon Boyd’s stage persona is the polar opposite of Moreno. He has a flair for the dramatic, often employing vocal vibrato while throwing his head back, wailing in a near parody of himself. Whereas Moreno seemed unconcerned with appearances (his PANTS where sweat-soaked) Boyd appeared to be keenly aware of the stage lighting and video screen elements as he moved about the stage. At times he looked as though he was posing for good photos (as seen our slideshow images).
Theatrics aside, Incubus are a talented, skilled group of musicians led by guitarist Mike Einziger. He is a low-key performer who lets his front man entertain the crowd while he works his effects pedals, producing studio-quality sounds in an amphitheater setting. No small feat. Those same effects were evident in his solo during Sick Sad Little World. File Einziger in the underrated musician category.
The band’s live production was sophisticated, with curved LCD screens, moving lighting rigs and star-lasers framed by a vaguely diamond-plate looking stage prop. The highlight of the performance was Megalomaniac that featured a snippet of Nirvana’s Come As You Are. The intricate drum and guitar work validated Incubus’ longevity and popularity if the thousands of fans in attendance did not already. The Austin setlist also featured the tour debut of Stellar, a song the band had not performed live since 2013.
S.T.A.Y. (Hans Zimmer cover) (intro, part of Interstellar soundtrack)
Nice to Know You
Are You In?
Sick Sad Little World
(with extended guitar solo)
In the Company of Wolves (Brandon wore a demon mask… more )
Wish You Were Here
I Miss You
Megalomaniac (with a snippet of Nirvana’s Come As You Are during the bridge)
Stellar (Tour debut, first time live since 2013)
A Crow Left of the Murder