PHOTOS & REVIEW BY SCOTT SPYCHALSKI
Warning. This review is written by a non-professional writer. I apologize in advance. But I am, however, a professional photographer, who brings you images from the battle zone known as the pit, and the pit was brutal for Incubus, with many crowd surfers, police taking action and a few fists thrown from men and women. I thought Incubus was a chill band?
Sunday night was the end of a beautiful weekend in Kansas City that brought us many concerts. I came into this show very familiar with one band, the Duke Spirit, and very unfamiliar with Incubus. Incubus is touring this summer in support of its new greatest hits album, Monuments and Melodies, following a hiatus to focus on their personal lives. When I arrived about an hour prior to the gates being opened for KRBZ's Buzz Under the Stars show, a line of people stretched around the block, and the scalpers were in full force. I really hadn't expected a big show because it was Sunday night and there were only two bands playing. I was wrong. This, I think, was the largest crowd I've seen in a few years. I was told 8,500-plus.
I met up with the Duke Spirit for a few portrait shots and some Q&A prior to the band taking the stage. I've seen the British four-piece a few times over the past two years, mostly in support of their sophomore album, Neptune. They have opened for such bands as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Mercury Rev, Eagles of Death Metal, among others. Now they are on tour with Incubus, and Spirit frontwoman Liela Moss told me that the guys in Incubus are nice, and the Duke Spirit is happy for the exposure. The Duke Spirit has performed on almost all the late night talk shows and played more than 200 dates in the last calender year. Moss also told me to look forward to a new album in the Spring.
The Dukes stormed on stage playing songs from Neptune and its first album, Cuts Across the Land. To say that Moss has stage charisma is an understatement: she struts, poses and even plays harmonica and maracas. She's one of the best female vocalists in rock today, and the Duke Spirit is one of the tightest bands.
But everyone was here for Incubus. I was allowed to shoot songs 4, 5 and 6. It became so crowded so quickly around the sides of the stage I had to get in front of the barrier just so I would be there in time to shoot. While I waited I talked to security, and my pal Sherwin, who works a lot of concerts, told me to expect a very wild crowd ,similar to Rockfest. I thought he was full of it because I thought it would just be lots of screaming girls. But he was right. As soon as Incubus came on to play their first song, "Privilege," the crowd surged forward and the surfers came over in droves. It was like that the entire night.
Lead singer Brandon Boyd fired up the Incubus faithful immediately, and as I watched the crowd I couldn't help but notice how many people were singing along to every word -- young girls and even middle-aged men. Up close, Boyd looks like a young Anthony Kiedis, and he goes full out jumping and wailing with a lot of emotion in his performance.
Incubus played all their big hits: "Drive," "Megalomania," "Anna Molly" and "Love Hurts." They knew how to pace the crowd by starting fast then playing some acoustic songs, and even mixed in their cover of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," though the crowd couldn't have gotten much crazier.
Just in my limited time between the stage and the audience I saw the police come in twice to escort crazed crowd surfers off to the side. I saw a woman punch a security guard after he helped her over the barrier, then she said, " Bitch, do you know who I am?" She was down on the ground and out the door quickly. I thought to myself: People, it's a Sunday night, it's a great performance from a wildly popular band who put on an entertaining concert ... mellow out, stand back relax and don't land on top of me when I'm taking photos.