Live

LIVE: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fools Gold, O2 Arena, London

by Couch Sessions

November in Britain: cold, dark, a tad bit secluded… but at the end of the day, there’s nothing more electrifying than a Chili night in London…

California-based newcomers Fool’s Gold played a brilliant opening set; bringing their signature alloyed sound of to the UK leg of the tour. The O2 is no small venue, and no small feat for an up-and-coming indigenous funk band, but Fool’s Gold’s five-piece found a masterful medium between the electric anthemic arena feel and the intimate audience interplay of a hole-in-the-wall lounge. Much like their sound over the past two years, between their self-titled debut album and their new sophomore release, Leave No Trace, Thursday night’s performance saw a natural evolution and crystallized cohesion in sound and momentum. The set featured a mix of old and new tracks, from “Nadine” to the band’s current live favorite “Mammal,” and RHCP newbie Josh Klinghoffer onstage for a proper Golden State jam session. Closing with “Surprise Hotel,” for a group off the heels of a UK tour of their own – including sets at Glastonbury, Lounge on Farm, and Latitude – Fool’s Gold checked-out with an undeniable mark on a home away from home.

And then, as always, after the fresh – comes the funk.

30 years young, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are those most dazed and Californicated 401Kings of Pop music. Going to a 2011 live RHCP arena show is akin to chaperoning your inner child to a legendary gig under the generational bridge. On one hand, you’re seeing yourself in Keidis and Flea – forever young with the vibe still in your veins standing atop the higher ground; and on the other, you’re watching your middle school self air-drumming along with Chad during the drum solo somewhere in a Parallel Universe. Regardless it’s a spectacle fit for any and everyone: lights, cameras, action are as second-nature to Hollywood kids as the back entrance to Chateau Marmot. Keidis marched in following Chad, Flea, and Klinghoffer – red tee and trucker hat in tow – opening with “Monarchy of the Roses;” mosh pits on the floor, finely tuned air guitars in the lower level, hoarse throated stans in the nosebleeds brought to a fever pitch over “Dani California;” needless to say, the veterans took it from 0-60 quicker than a newborn with a fake AARP card – universally speaking, of course. Never lacking momentum, the setlist sweltered, flowing through I’m with new tracks(“Look Around,” “Factory of Faith”) jumping off the second-wind with “Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie,” circling around Stadium Arcadium (“Tell Me Baby,” “Wet Sand,” “Hard to Concentrate”) but the Peppers found the pulse of the people with paramount performances of their heralded highs (“Californication,” “Higher Ground”) and legendary lows (“Scar Tissue,” “Under the Bridge”).

Beyond a tale of two cities, the climactic collusion of London and Los Angeles, the Chili Peppers’ O2 set was a collision of cultures – fiends moshing and crowdsurfing in the pit, fans miming and channeling Keidis in the stands, stans at amplified attention in the rafters; but in the midst of the melodic madness, there was a still moment as everyone traded Blackberrys for Bics, digital lenses down and lighters up: “Under the Bridge” in Londontown.

That said, after the glow, all that’s left is for the fuse to blow; and it’s not a show if there’s no blood, sugar, sex, magik in tow… two thumbs fresh from this chaperone – because you can always tell a band by the way they Give it Away. #encore