A decade after their breakthrough into the mainstream with "Make Yourself", Calabasas California's Incubus chronicle their continued success with the release of "Look Alive". Part concert, part documentary, the film follows the group as they rehearse, travel the globe, take in various cultures and, of course, perform to thousands of fans who seemingly know every lyric in their songbook. Through it all, we see the band interact with each other, seemingly as chummy with one another as ever -- with the relationships between founding members Brandon Boyd (vocals), Mike Einziger (guitar) and Jose Pasillas (drums) being particularly strong -- which translates into their dynamic and colorful live performances.
Longtime fans may grumble a bit, as the set focuses mostly on material from 2006's "Light Grenades" -- the album which they were touring on at the time -- and chooses to ignore even their biggest hits such as "Drive," "Pardon Me" and "Wish You Were Here". Never fear, though, as the band packs a strong enough punch with the new material that you'll barely miss the tried and true tunes (side note: there are several other live releases from the band that may quench your old-school thirst). Not only do tracks like "Rogues" and "Love Hurts" spring to life in a live setting much better than on record, but older, more obscure cuts such as "Nebula" and "Redefine" are given make-overs, with the latter track transforming into a completely different tune altogether. Overall, the band sounds great, with guitarist Mike Einziger being the star of the set. Not only has he shown increased talent and range with each successive album, but he has stepped into his own as a modern guitar hero of sorts. Watching him bust out the Chinese Pipa on "Aquaeous Transmission" and noodle away on "Sick, Sad Little World" is about as awe-inspiring as today's modern rock gets, folks.
Overall, the sound and picture quality of the DVD are top-notch. Presented in widescreen and sporting a 5.1 soundtrack, this is certainly the most impressive Incubus DVD to date. Through the film, we get to live vicariously through the band and see the wonderful landscapes of Iceland as if we were there while a score composed by Einziger pulses in the background. It just doesn't get much better than that. While it may not serve as an accessible, crowd-pleasing affair, "Look Alive" is at the very least an honest and inspiring portrait of a band in love with their craft. Not only does the newer material hold up live, but the band seems as honest and down to Earth as the day they started. It's definitely geared more towards the hardcore fans, so keep that in mind. For more of their hits, look towards "Alive At Red Rocks" or "The Morning View Sessions".
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