Incubus Brings Hard Rock, Heartfelt Ballads, And “Promises, Promises” To Live On Letterman Stage

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Incubus performs "Live on Letterman" in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, July 11, 2011 (Photo: David M. Russell/CBS)

Incubus performs “Live on Letterman” in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, July 11, 2011 (Photo: David M. Russell/CBS)

Most bands don’t start with a standing ovation, but that’s exactly what greeted [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Incubus[/lastfm] during their massive Live On Letterman concert. And the veteran California band met the applause and adulation in grand rock n’ roll style — with clanging guitars, driving rhythms, and the stylish voice of lead singer Brandon Boyd.

The band kicked off their hour-long set with “Megalomaniac,” a chart-topping song from the band’s 2004 album A Crow Left of the Murder… Next came “Wish You Were Here,” another vintage track, this time from the band’s 2001 album Morning View. Obviously a fan favorite, it had the entire front row of the Ed Sullivan Theater singing along.

The band moved up a few years with the next song, “Anna Molly,” one of two songs during the night’s show that represented the 2006 album Light Grenades.

Incubus performs "Live on Letterman" in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, July 11, 2011 (Photo: David M. Russell/CBS)

Incubus at the Ed Sullivan Theater (Photo: David M. Russell/CBS)

Considering this was practically a record-release party for the band’s brand-new album If Not Now, When? (hitting stores the next morning, July 12), it was surprising the band took its time getting into brand-new material–but what a song it turned out to be. “Promises, Promises” is the lead track off If Not Now, When? and in many ways it redefines the new Incubus as a band fully embracing the promise of soulful balladry.

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Then in yet another turn of events, lead singer Boyd stripped down to just a white T-shirt and jeans and even dabbled in a bit of scat-singing during the jazz-funk intro to “Nice To Know You,” proving yet again that this is a band that remains fully unpredictable.

Incubus performs "Live on Letterman" in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, July 11, 2011 (Photo: David M. Russell/CBS)

Brandon Boyd of Incubus (David M. Russell/CBS)

Incubus returned to their new album for the next three songs, the energetic “Thieves,” the complex, multilayered “In the Company of Wolves,” and the wild-eyed “Adolescent.”

“Wolves” is a unique, slow-boil of a song that begins with neo-folk acoustic guitar and winds up somewhere slow, sexy, and moody–Brandon Boyd will never be mistaken for Barry White, but at the same time, his lustful howling can’t help but pull you in. “”I want to be the microphone,” wrote one social media user during the live webcast.

The funky “Pardon Me” (with emphasis on turntables and a skittering hip-hop rhythm) concluded the main set. But then Incubus returned for a surprise encore that featured two more vintage tracks — “Consequence” from the album Make Yourself, and the fan favorite “Love Hurts” from Light Grenades.

Luckily for fans who didn’t catch the show live, the entire concert webcast will be available on-demand starting Tuesday, July 12. You can watch it anytime right here or on CBS.com.

Presented by AT&T — Re-Think Possible

Free Incubus MP3 and album stream:

On Tuesday, July 12, download a free MP3 of the song “Promises, Promises” courtesy of MP3.com!

Stream the new Incubus album If Not Now, When? on Street Date

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