Incubus, Hoobastank and a stanky loo at Arco

A friend once dubbed arena- and stadium-size events “piss gatherings,” referring to how a large crowd, confined, can lead to the destruction of a venue’s public restrooms. Although it’s an odd way to describe such live events, the term stuck. Where else could you find urinals and toilets in any more disarray than at a full-on rock show?

Incubus and Hoobastank, whose Honda-underwritten 2000 Civic Tour stopped at Arco Arena on a recent Monday night, exemplified this year’s ultimate piss gathering. Because of Honda’s support, floor tickets were only $23. By 7:45, the arena was at full capacity. Unfortunately, only those who braved the early lines were able to venture onto the floor or lower levels.

Agoura Hills-based Hoobastank, whose recent self-titled Island Records debut enjoyed one of the largest Soundscan jumps in recent years, was not only welcomed with open arms but had a serious contingent of fans. Only a short time ago, Hoobastank played The Boardwalk on a 300-capacity headlining tour. From the looks of this night’s performance, the band would have little problem selling out a Sacramento Memorial Auditorium-sized venue with a strong support act.

Athough a little too close to Incubus’ sound, the bulk of Hoobastank’s material—from its new album—was amazingly potent in a live setting. Singer Dan Robb seized the moment and ran about the 60-foot-by-60-foot stage area like a crazed madman. But the band’s 45 minutes passed by quickly.

Incubus, from Calabasas (near Agoura Hills) has become quite the melodic quintet since the horribly produced and titled Fungus Amongus. Singer Brandon Boyd has grown over the years and the core of Incubus—turntablist DJ Lyfe, guitarist Mike Einziger, bassist Alex Katunich and drummer Jose Pasillas—has become an adept group of songmakers. Although Incubus’ breakthrough was its 1999 album Make Yourself with the hugely successful track “Pardon Me,” it wasn’t until the release of its new Morning View that the band became a headliner.

With a sparse stage and light show, Incubus let its music do the talking, launching into tracks from S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and the rest of its Epic Records catalog. It wasn’t until its tepid version of “Pardon Me” that I left; a pit stop found the bathrooms destroyed by fecal matter and assorted fluids.

As far as piss gatherings go, the evening’s major-label package delivered the goods and then some. But pity that poor Arco custodial crew.