If Not Now, When?, the Californian rock act's comeback of sorts after several' />

Bold, adventurous and risky was how Incubus described last year's album If Not Now, When?, the Californian rock act's comeback of sorts after several years off.

For a band that bridges the gap between Linkin Park and Maroon 5, it was bizarrely mellow, with little of the guitar crunch Incubus has become known for.

Thankfully, that's not the case live.

Sure, Brandon Boyd and co are mostly known for radio-friendly fodder like Drive and Are You In?, both of which were delivered passionately and sung at roof-raising volumes by a surprisingly large and energetic Vector Arena crowd last night.


But fans really reacted to tracks like scorching opener Megalomaniac, Pardon Me's 90s nu-metal nostalgia and A Certain Shade of Green's furious riffing, with a moshpit that bounced regularly throughout the show.

Best of all were Nice to Know You and Wish You Were Here, a pair of older tracks that prove Incubus are at their best mixing Boyd's soaring melodies with spooky scratched samples and sweetly-timed metal-tinged grooves.

When Boyd, whose model looks have seen him voted rock's hottest frontman on more than one occasion, took his shirt off at the halfway point, temperatures - and noise levels - certainly went up a notch.

Aside from the view, there was plenty to like about the show - Boyd's voice is as strong as ever, the near two-hour show was well-paced, and there were many Incubus diehards grinning from ear to ear by the end.

But if Incubus really are hellbent on reinvention, they still cling to several well-worn nu-metal cliches: They still have a DJ, bless them, and there was enough rap'n'roll to make Fred Durst jealous.

It was tight and clinical, but apart from a snippet of Riders on the Storm appearing during Are You In?, it was a show with few surprises.

For a band entering its 22nd year and with seven albums behind them, it would be nice to see Incubus mix things up, push out their boundaries and go a little crazy.

The only question is, are they in?

What: Incubus
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Tuesday, January 31

- Herald online