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Ben Kenney

Brandon Boyd plays up the new-age, en vogue rock star thing a bit too much for my tastes, but there’s nothing wrong with his band. Incubus is a wonderland of power chords and hip-hop beats and Boyd’s lyric astral projections, all tailored to fit the arena-size crowds their multiplatinum success has earned them.

But branding the band with the name Incubus was perhaps a mistake. My Random House unabridged dictionary says that Incubus is an imaginary demon fabled to have sexual intercourse with women in their sleep. But the Incubus band image is quite different. Their public semblance is wholesome, nice-guy vanilla. I once read a quote from Incubus’s original bass player Dirk Lance that was gratuitous and pornographic in context, and I remember thinking, “He’s not long for this group of Scouts.” I was right.

Lance’s replacement is former Roots guitarist Ben Kenney. With Incubus, Kenney’s playing is textured and aggressive, less the jazz and funk bass that Lance brought to the table. In his side-project band, the Ben Kenney sound is more metallic and stringy and compressed in a way that creates the illusion that a lot of sound is coming out of a small space. Kenney’s own music sits well within the boundaries of all modern pop rock as dictated by Linkin Park: thin lyric line, bombastic chorus, and for the most part, ditch the solos. Makes for a dynamic listen. In this case, Kenney has a solid, pleasing voice with an abrupt range.

Lest a fan think that Kenney could one day carry the whole Incubus show without the current lead singer, he writes this on his MySpace page: “Please don’t ask me to put you in touch with Brandon Boyd. Sure, he’s a great guy, but it’s rude and stalker-ish to bother me with your obsession over him.”

BEN KENNEY: House of Blues, Thursday, January 17, 7 pm. 619-299-2583. $14.

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Comical and clinical

“I would rather not”

Brandon Boyd plays up the new-age, en vogue rock star thing a bit too much for my tastes, but there’s nothing wrong with his band. Incubus is a wonderland of power chords and hip-hop beats and Boyd’s lyric astral projections, all tailored to fit the arena-size crowds their multiplatinum success has earned them.

But branding the band with the name Incubus was perhaps a mistake. My Random House unabridged dictionary says that Incubus is an imaginary demon fabled to have sexual intercourse with women in their sleep. But the Incubus band image is quite different. Their public semblance is wholesome, nice-guy vanilla. I once read a quote from Incubus’s original bass player Dirk Lance that was gratuitous and pornographic in context, and I remember thinking, “He’s not long for this group of Scouts.” I was right.

Lance’s replacement is former Roots guitarist Ben Kenney. With Incubus, Kenney’s playing is textured and aggressive, less the jazz and funk bass that Lance brought to the table. In his side-project band, the Ben Kenney sound is more metallic and stringy and compressed in a way that creates the illusion that a lot of sound is coming out of a small space. Kenney’s own music sits well within the boundaries of all modern pop rock as dictated by Linkin Park: thin lyric line, bombastic chorus, and for the most part, ditch the solos. Makes for a dynamic listen. In this case, Kenney has a solid, pleasing voice with an abrupt range.

Lest a fan think that Kenney could one day carry the whole Incubus show without the current lead singer, he writes this on his MySpace page: “Please don’t ask me to put you in touch with Brandon Boyd. Sure, he’s a great guy, but it’s rude and stalker-ish to bother me with your obsession over him.”

BEN KENNEY: House of Blues, Thursday, January 17, 7 pm. 619-299-2583. $14.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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