Red Hot Chili Peppers/Flaming Lips : Los Angeles Forum

Sunshine state gives it up for homecoming heroes, but seem less keen on Coyne and co...

Since the release of 'Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots' Flaming Lips have been coasting on a robust wave of critical acclaim, gimmicks and famous friends. One day, though, someone is going to finally pop those rainbow-coloured balloons and take a well-justified aim at that overblown praise and the band’s almost obscene whoring of their famous pals. But tonight we'll let the Lips off, because fake-bloodied Wayne Coyne and his furry entourage have just had to endure half of the 16,000 strong arena booing at them. It just ain’t easy playing for a Red Hot Chili Peppers hometown crowd. Unless, of course, you happen to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The Chilis, you see, are one of the most beloved Southern California bands ever. As unbelievable as it may sound, on the West Coast, Anthony Keidis and his cohorts rank as highly as Brian Wilson and his Beach Boys. No, really!

So to all the stoned, beer-guzzling frat boys here tonight with their honeys in belly-revealing tops and pubic hair-revealing pants, encore track 'Under The Bridge' is on a par with - take a really deep breath - 'God Only Knows'. And not only does this arena heartily embrace each note of 'By the Way', and 'Can’t Stop' , they also adore the yoga-loving men behind the music. In fact, this is one of the strongest (and drunkest) displays of fan-worship NME> has seen in a long time. The Chilis are so adored, the foursome could probably turn up, shit in their fists, chuck it into the crowd and chaos would ensue as fans stampeded to get a sampling of Anthony or Flea’s steaming faeces.

Luckily, the only cack on display this evening is of the musical kind, as they scrub up those quieter tunes from last album 'By the Way' ('Universally Speaking', 'Throw Away Your Television'). During these moments the audience act more like a boy-band crowd, as devotion outweighs artistic merit and even the parental blokes heap yelps of praise on every note (coincidentally, this is not unlike a music critic when faced with anything performed by Flaming Lips). But the band make amends with a thrilling finale that proves that, when they're at their peak, they've enough tunes to soak up the screams. 'Scar Tissue' and set-ender 'Give It Away' generate an unhealthy thunder from the rafters and, in truth, the Chili’s deserve it. Having kicked their habits, and wholly embraced the Californian healthy lifestyle, they've earned these arena-filling spoils.

Jolie Lash

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