|Incubus (Brantley Gutierrez)
Sept. 9, 1994 @ Coconut Teaszer (West Hollywood)
It was a Friday night during my freshman year in college. School had begun only a few weeks earlier, and most of the friends I had made so far lived in my dorm. Sharon and Carolina, two girls from down the hall, invited me to go see a band of Sharon's high school classmates at this club on the Sunset Strip. At first I was a little nervous about getting in since I wasn't 18 yet, but we came up a plan for me to show my USC ID card to the bouncer since it didn't have my birthdate on it, hoping that maybe he would think, 'well, she's old enough to be in college so I guess it's OK.'
Any anxiety over getting in was outweighed by my sheer excitement at finally going to a show on the famed Sunset Strip. I remember the drive to the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights like it was yesterday, being absolutely giddy as the pink neon Coconut Teaszer sign came into view. Thankfully, the bouncer didn't even look at our IDs, as we showed him this flyer Sharon had and paid our $7. It was so surreal, stepping into my first rock club – a moment I had dreamt about for years. Sharon had a lot of friends from high school milling around, so I don't really remember where she was during the show. All I can recall is how dark it was in the club, that it smelled of sweat and beer and, when Incubus started playing, it was so loud that my ears felt like they were going to explode.
At this point, the band had only released demos, and were still cultivating their sound and style (It would be a year before Fungus Amongus would be available.). If all you've ever heard is their post-Make Yourself music, then you would be shocked at what I experienced that night. As soon as they began to play, the floor in front of their performance area exploded with bodies and dreadlocks flew through the air from violently thrashing heads. There was no denying the power of Jose Pasillas on drums and Alex Katunich (aka Dirk Lance) on bass. Guitarist Mike Einziger hunched over his guitar, churning out heavy, lightning-quick riffs. Brandon Boyd flailed himself around the room, moshing with the crowd, yet his voice rang out strong and clear.
Who knew that years later, they would go on to become multi-platinum artists? Over the years, I've seen Incubus perform 40-50 times at venues from the Roxy to Verizon Amphitheater. Even though I haven't gone to one of their shows in quite a while, they will always hold a special place in my heart because they played such a monumental night in my musical memories. The venue sat where Shelter, Privilege and XIV by Michael Mina have all come and gone, but that spot on Sunset Boulevard will always live on as Coconut Teaszer's home in my mind.