It’s amazing to think that Incubus has been making music for over 20 years already. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was cranking Morning View in my Discman, but then again I guess that puts things into perspective.
Of course there have been a couple of lineup changes over the years, but the core of Incubus has remained intact, lead by Brandon Boyd on vocals, Mike Einziger on guitars, and Jose Pasillas on drums. They have been releasing albums since 1995, and have generally seen improvement throughout the years, though the last couple hasn’t been as well received.
Incubus HQ Live is a celebration of the band’s 20 years together. In the Summer of 2011 Incubus turned an L.A. storefront into a low-key residency that resulted in 6 nights of free shows and fan encounters. This is now chronicled in Incubus HQ Live, which is available in a CD/DVD format, a double disc CD and DVD special edition, and a limited edited box set as well. I have not seen the DVD, but have gotten a chance to listen to the special edition album, and it is quite solid with 28 tracks across the two discs.
The first disc of HQ Live is full of Morning View and Make Yourself tracks, which are certainly my two favorite albums, and tend to be the same amongst Incubus fans. This should please most people I think. The second disc is heavier on newer material, but still mixes in some older cuts. At the time of these recordings Incubus was also premiering some of the songs on the since released If Not Now, When? album. As to be expected, the standard version spreads things across albums a bit more over the single disc. The DVD is the same in all versions of the release.
The Incubus HQ Live Special Edition is a pretty strong collection for Incubus fans. It covers most of the hits and some of the deeper cuts from the bigger albums. It doesn’t hit the bands first few releases at all though, which is a little disappointing as there were some good songs there even if the albums weren’t as good. It also misses “Dig” from 2006’s Light Grenades, which was a pretty big hit. I am sure some people will want tracks on the special edition that are not on the standard one, and some that get the special edition could do without some of the newer material on there. Still, if you’re into Incubus the special edition is definitely the way to go (unless you want to go all the way for the box set of course), you get a lot more tracks, many of which are one’s you’d certainly miss from the standard version. Incubus comes off sounding great in these intimate settings amongst their fans no matter which version you get, and it’s always great to hear some nice banter by a band amongst their fans.
Editors Note: The DVD is a fantastic edition to the set. I viewed it and felt that it captures the event perfectly. The sound, camera work and video quality is superb. This is definetly a worthwhile set to pick up, 2 CDs and 1 DVD for under $20.00 is a great deal!
Key Tracks: Nice to Know You, Stellar, Make Yourself, Just a Phase
Kevin Kozel - Sr. MuzikReviews.com Staff
August 11, 2012