1995 October 21st NME



Brixton Academy

KIEDIS: “ERR, like, can I get a, huh-huh, Steak And Kidney Pie.., huh huh, huh huh?”

BUTT-HEAD (For it is Flea): “Huck-huck, yeah! I wanna, like, Stike And Keedney Poll’ (note deeply unconvincing LA cockney accent).

KIEDIS: “Yeah, like, huh-huh, do you guys have, like, huh-huh Stike And Keedney Poi?  Huck huh, huh. huh.”

Stitch up your sides, lock up your daughters, roll over James Brown and tell Lemmy the news.The Kiedis and Butt-head show is back in town, here to drink your beer, funk rock you out of the question and then shag your sister, but all with a laugh, a joke, a smile on their faces and a song in their hearts. And tonight, especially for us, they can make some obscure jokes about Londonengland.

Kiedis: “Was it Blur who, like, huh huh, had a soccer match with Oasis, or was it, like, huh-huh, Oasis who had a soccer match with Blur?

BUTT-HEAD: “Yeah, Huck-huh, Iike, was it Blur who, like, huh-huh, had a soccer match with Oasis, or was it, like, huh-huh, Oasis who had a soccer match with TBlur? Huck-huck” Huck0huh!”

And so on. But hey! Let them have their laughs! Us British guys are, like, so obsessed with image! Let’s concentrate on the music, shall we?

Well, we’d rather not actually, if it’s all the same with you. Besides, it’s virtually impossible to concentrate on anything when Anthony Kiedis prances on in a hotel chambermaid’s outfit, succeeding only in looking like a bodybuilding nun, and wearing a loincloth incase he accidentally creams himself with excitement again. The others have stripped down long ago, desperate to flex their luscious little pees and show off their rock hard biker tats. Once Ant, Flea, Brad and Spunky (or whatever their names are) are all down to their shorts, if you squint they resemble four rather small erect penises. With unpleasant furry growths and warts on them.

But let’s not let that prejudice our view of the Chili Peppers. If you’re a real MAN, you can take it, so face the bass. It’s ace. Flea uses his four strings like a punchball, pummelling and spanking them at a rate of seven ‘twanks’ per second to show, in case you didn’t know, that the Chili Peppers are, like, funky, OK?

Trouble is, Flea deals in maximalist funk, where more means more, and the more twanky spanky bits you can play the more funky you are. So, inevitably, they’re rarely funky at all. It’s an essentially metal idea, based on showing off at every available opportunity… and the rest of the time as well. Which just goes to prove that the Chili Peppers play funk for people who not only don’t like funk, but don’t even know what it is, beyond a style of bass playing.

Credit must be due though, surely, since the Chills have been so influential, right? The taut muscled, visceral elastic hardcore they popularised spawned the celebrated hybrid genre of Funk Metal. Well, cheers, And of course there’s Kiedis’, erm, ‘imitable’ pseudo-rapping vocal style that goes ‘uck chuk chuk ucka-chuk’. Where would Mike Patton be today, eh? Erm, on the dole, hopefully.

Truth be told, their legacy has been best used, and then outgrown, by Jane’s Addiction’s dark seediness and anti-cool androgyny, by Rage Against The Machine’s splenetic fury and sleek dynamics.

You get the feeling the Chilis never quite had the basic intelligence to expand on their generic blueprint. Tonight there are two types of song -fast, thwacky, uck-chucking blow-outs and desperately po-faced ‘we’re real sensitive guys actually’ ballads. These are illustrated by two alternating backdrops – one a stormy night sky, the other a bright idyllic blue sky. What can it all mean?

The two songs that manage to transcend this mediocrity are, inevitably, their two best-known songs, the loose-hipped ‘Give It Away’ (the only time they ever let the funk breathe), and the innocently evocative ‘Under The Bridge’. And both are wasted fairly early in the set to make way for more gritty thrills. “My friends are so depressed,” groans Ant, just when you were thinking you’d got rid of self-pitying cocoon-fever LA rock stars a few years back. But the Chili Peppers haven’t lived in the real world for some time, you can tell this from the entourage of hangers-on and ego-masseurs gathered at the side of the stage, just in case any of them have an angst attack on stage.

“It can be dangerous emptying your testicles before a show,” sniggers Kiedis to no-one in particular. Cor!i So, like, he has sex? Like, real rudey sex with girlies?!?! Cor!

But these days it’s not the locker room bodybuilding tosser attitudes that grate so much about the Chili Peppers. It’s everything else: the turgid, pretentious mess of the music; the furious muse ego-wanking; the numbskulled inability to broaden their horizons any further; the pathetic narcissism; the LA rock star tosshole they obviously inhabit despite all their anarcho posturing; and, lest we forget, all those terrible jokes.

In summary? Shite And Kidney Pie. Huh-huh.

Johnny Cigarette!

Leave a Reply