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Pop Music Reviews : Peppers' High Jinks

February 07, 1986|DON WALLER

Any act that hits the stage like zoo-loose chimps, covered from wig-hats to combat boots with psychedelic Day-Glo body paint in quasi-aboriginal patterns, then encores stripped to a quartet of well-placed tube socks, pretty much defies S-E-R-I-O-U-S critical analysis.

Such was the case with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Performing at the Palace on Wednesday night, these four young white metal-funkheads from the Fairfax district gave the near-capacity crowd an hour's worth of acrobatic high jinks, X-rated raps and riffuponriffupon grungy riff.

High-energy, sure. Also highly entertaining, if almost completely lacking in memorable melody. Other than their long-standing roots tribute version of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire," the remainder of the Pep Boys' set was strangely lacking in the band's best material: "Freaky Styley" and the Meters' "Hollywood (Africa)" from the RHCP's second LP.

While the Chili Peps' bass-drums-guitar combination is super-tight, the band forces itself to work so hard it rarely has time to develop a groove. As for self-described "spazz-rapper" Anthony Kiedis, much of the froggy-voiced front man's fabled wit was lost in either the customary cavernous Palace sound or the roar of the body paint. Before anyone writes the Peps off as complete clowns, consider that they brought in the best-looking girls seen on the scene in many moons.

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