Hot-take journalists have concluded that nu-metal is long overdue for a revival similar to those of emo or '80s soft-rock. But the setlist SoCal rap-rockers Incubus unloaded on a half-empty Sunlight Supply Amphitheater on August 18 made very few concessions to a nascent resurgence tailor-made for whipping white dudes with dreads and Monster Energy Drink addictions into a frenzy.
Aside from a light dusting of key tracks from their early days—highlighting their rapid transition from heavy-hitting breakthrough stars alongside Limp Bizkit and Korn to what now resembles crunchy, mid-tempo yoga metal—the huge response garnered by shwillier newish songs like "If Not Now, When?" and "Pantomime" indicated that giving up the grinding power chords and frantic turntable heroics that made 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E. pop are all but forgotten.
It was a bummer for geezers like myself who dearly miss the mosh pits of the good old days. But the very fact that Incubus has outlasted their Yankee-hat and Adidas-donning brethren in terms of energy and ostensible good taste means they're doing just fine in the twilight of their career. As such, the consistent choice of closing the set with "Aqueous Transmission," a terminally chill lazy-river ride of a cut from Morning View, served as a perfect capstone to a set that maintained an admirable amount of energy and diversity throughout. Rather than get the fans soused on the macho energy that propelled them to stardom in the first place, perhaps the best place to direct that energy is inward. Namaste, by good bros.
All photos by Thomas Teal.