ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 6, 1992
What makes a rock writer desperate to score the reviewer’s assignment for a Red Hot Chili Peppers show? Could it be the group’s incendiary brand of primitive thrash-funk, or the fact that their live appearances are known far and wide for their unbridled energy and uncontrolled antics? Well, those things had something to do with it, but the real incentive for this particular fellow was the prospect of seeing, with my own eyes, the spiral haircut that bassist Flea sports in the video for “Give It Away”.
Call me a hick from Chilliwack, but I ain’t never seen no spiral haircut before!
And I didn’t get to see one at the PNE Forum last Monday (February 3), either, because now that poppin’ and slappin’ fiend of the four-string has short blonde hair, and the amazing rings that used to circle his brunette noggin are long gone. Fortunately, the shearing of Flea’s spiral ’do hasn’t really made a difference to the way the guy performs: he’s still a raging psycho first and a phenomenal bassist second. Madness is a prerequisite for membership in the RHCP, and from the looks of things at the Forum, it could be a priority for the fan club, too.
As soon as the band tore into its first song, the entire front half of the floor area became a seething ocean of slamming bodies, which the hardiest fans climbed on and rode like silly surfers before being sucked back down by the shifting whirlpool of flesh. Flea and his mates didn’t seem the least bit impressed by the hysteria of the floor crowd; they were too engrossed in their own rowdiness, which included leaping about like frogs on speed, performing 20-second handstands, and making the kind of demented faces you got slapped for as a kid.
The band members still haven’t bought any shirts, but at least they kept their pants on, which is something they couldn’t do at a previous Town Pump gig. Crude remarks concerning their opening band, the all-female Seven Year Bitch, didn’t win Brownie points for singer Anthony Kiedis, and the band was awful sloppy when it came to ending the songs, but the coarse talk and rough spots were pretty well lost in the overall wildness of the show, which peaked with an encore of Iggy and the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”.