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Originally published Friday, January 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Night Watch

Fans drive Incubus album to the top

You can enjoy Incubus at the Paramount Theatre Saturday night without knowing lead singer Brandon Boyd fell in love with vinyl from a Disney...

Special to The Seattle Times

You can enjoy Incubus at the Paramount Theatre Saturday night without knowing lead singer Brandon Boyd fell in love with vinyl from a Disney recording of spooky sounds.

You can even revel in the show without knowing you could be on a first-name basis with the men of the California modern-rock quintet if you win their "Make Yourself An Incubus Video" contest.

But Incubus has been looking to deepen connections with listeners outside the concert hall.

Ever since "Drive," from the 1999 album "Make Yourself," planted itself on every rock station's heavy rotation, the band has had a broad following and successful sales. Its newest album of metal-tinged alternative rock, "Light Grenades," debuted at the top of the Billboard charts — a first for the band.

Before the album came out, Incubus put in place a score of companion contests, pod casts and behind-the-scenes videos. Maybe the band wanted to make sure its listeners were still on board, since Incubus took much longer to write and record "Light Grenades" than its previous works.

Concert preview


Incubus: 8 p.m. Saturday, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle ($37.50; 206-628-0888 or www.theparamount.com)

Incubus worked with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Korn) for over a year on "Light Grenades." The resulting album is lighter musically and lyrically — and more varied — than its previous discs. Incubus will always have a place among alternative metal bands of the late '90s, and "Light Grenades" hasn't completely shaken the influences of groups like Korn. But as far as '90s comparisons go, it's fairer to liken the sound of "Light Grenades" to the intensity of Pearl Jam and the frenetic energy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Though the album can be a little schizophrenic at times, veering between jumpy punk (the first single, "Anna-Molly"), radio-ready alt-pop (the second single, "Dig") and even psychedelia ("Quicksand"), the tracks are tightly woven. The album shows Incubus has the musical chops to pull off a diverse sound, 16 years and six albums into its career.

For the most part, the album's lyrics touch on the complications of interpersonal relationships. Incubus seems to be straying from the politics of its 2004 album, "A Crow Left of the Murder," which sparked controversy when MTV banned the single "Megalomaniac" from daytime rotation, citing it as an attack on President Bush.

In the time leading up to the release of "Light Grenades" in November, Incubus has been busy finding creative ways to engage its fans. The band released a series of pod casts with live covers and commentary from the musicians.. They've also launched a video contest. Incubus provided downloadable footage of the band playing "Dig" in front of a green screen. You take the footage and make your masterpiece, which hopefully is selected as the winner and launched on MTV.

But if there's no way you're the next Spike Jonze, you can still meet the band by bidding on one of a limited number of V.I.P. passes being auctioned to support Incubus' non-profit Make Yourself Foundation.

Or just scream extra loud in the mosh pit. If they hear you, it seems likely one of the men of Incubus will make the effort to connect.

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