Incubus was all set for a five-show run in Las Vegas in October, excited to play a series of loose, improvisational sets in a city that has always responded warmly to the band’s frequently loud, occasionally introspective alt-rock.
“It poses an interesting challenge,” singer Brandon Boyd told us last fall. “I don’t know if the artists playing [Vegas] residencies do the same set every night, but we don’t like to put together a show like machine work. We want to do something that leaves room for chaos and mistakes. That’s where the fun of performing live music comes in.”
But then October 1 happened. After considering its options, the band postponed the concerts as a precautionary measure and to honor those affected by the Route 91 tragedy. Now Incubus is back at the Joint for two shows this weekend and two more March 30 and 31.
“It was difficult, because we really don’t like letting our fans down,” says Chris Kilmore, who handles turntables and keyboards and will also DJ at the Hard Rock’s Center Bar after the show on February 2. “As far as bands go, we’re hard workers, so that was tough. But the consensus was it was the right thing to do. We had a similar thing after 9/11. We played a show at the Hammerstein [Ballroom] the Saturday after, and that was tough. But tragedy happens, and music was meant to heal that, so we’re happy to be coming back.”
The schedule change should have a dramatic impact on the concerts themselves; Incubus is essentially kicking off a Pacific Rim tour in Las Vegas. Boyd, Kilmore and company will jet to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia before returning to the states in March and reappearing at the Hard Rock Hotel.
“You’re gonna get the pre-tour show and the end-of-tour show, so there’s going to be a lot of differences between them,” laughs Kilmore. “What’s really cool is that as we get into tour shape, musically we start changing a lot of things, so we’ll be playing different things by the time we come back, firing on all cylinders on all songs and doing crazy, fun stuff.”
That’s not to say this weekend’s shows will bring a rusty Incubus to Vegas. The band is still riding high on the momentum from last April’s 8, which was mixed by Skrillex.
Kilmore and his mates have been digging into rehearsals for weeks now, punching up some of those new songs and “knocking the dust off” old ones. “Every time we release a record we want to play every song off that record, and this is no different,” he says. “Actually, this is one of our most fun records to play, but we know the fans want the singles. We’re definitely going to change a lot of things up.”
Incubus February 2-3 & March 30-31, 9 p.m, $51-$176. The Joint, 702-693-5000.