Incubus Played an Acoustic Set Last Night at The Bungalow in Huntington Beach

The Bungalow Huntington Beach
July 7, 2016

Last night saw the opening of a new, beachy bar-lounge in Huntington Beach. The Bungalow, owned by Brent Bolthouse—the same guy who owns The Bungalow in Santa Monica— sits on the second story of the newly built Pacific City and over looks PCH. But last night’s grand opening was more than just a bougie gathering of Orange County’s finest. At 10 p.m., Brandon Boyd, Mike Einziger and Ben Kenney of Incubus performed a seven-song acoustic-set under the stars to a packed house of about 400 people.

Before I go any further, I’m going to preface this review by saying that Incubus was the soundtrack to my life between the ages of 13 and 22. For almost a decade I collected merch, hung posters on my walls and ceiling, dissected the lyrics and looked for every opportunity to say “Fungus Amongus” or tell someone that I wished they were here. I even incorporated the word “Stellar” into my vocabulary (I know, I know.).

As if my subliminal Incubus verbiage wasn’t enough, I bought tickets to their concerts every time they came within a hundred-mile radius of where I lived, and I even have ex-boyfriends who’ve told me that Incubus will always remind them of me. Over the years I’ve had people tell me that I’m too obsessed, while others recognize my enthusiasm as standard fandom protocol. Needless to say, when I learned that Incubus was playing a rare acoustic set in Huntington, it was game over. Rain, hail, or shine I was going to be there.

When Boyd, Einziger and Kenney took the intimate stage, the collective scream from the crowd sounded as if the building was on fire. The guys opened up with “Wish You Were Here” off of their fourth record Morning View, which translated seamlessly as an acoustic song. Opening with this song seemed fitting, as the lyrics describe feeling the wind, looking at the ocean and staring up into a starry sky— all of which were things you could physically experience while listening.

Although Chris Kilmore’s mixing contributes to Incubus’ signature sound, having Einziger on guitar and Kenney on bass helped maintain much of the band’s energy. Between the crowd scream-singing the lyrics and also screaming out of excitement, the words, “I LOVE YOU” and “I’m going to cry right now” sounded from different girls through out the 45-minute set.

The best part of the set came when Einziger played the beginning riffs of “Nice To Know You,” also off of Morning View. The song is, perhaps, one of the best break up songs of all time, as the guitar riffs are heavy, a little angry and the lyrics ooze with feelings of being fed-up. In other words, the high energy of this song seems like it would be difficult to play without an electric guitar, drums and a turn table. But Boyd belted the lyrics and I don’t know if anyone’s ever played an unplugged electric guitar harder than Einziger did during that four minutes. It was pretty stellar. Seriously.

One thing I’m always reminded of when I see Incubus is that girls really love Brandon Boyd. Even girls who were clearly on dates last night were screaming, “Brandon!” and “Oh my god! I can’t believe it’s him!” Although I certainly understand the infatuation with the front man, I have to say: His band mates are where it’s at. Einziger shreds—especially when he plays the mandolin. I’d even go as far to say that the Harvard man is one of the most underrated guitarists of all time. And Kenney is groovy as fuck on the bass. All I’m saying is that the people who back up Boyd are insanely talented and they need to be appreciated too.

Set List:
1) Wish You Were Here
2) Nice To Know You
3) Anna Molly
4)??? (sounded like a new one)
5) Wicked Game by Chris Isaak (cover)
6) Drive
7) Pardon Me

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