These days, the majority of those attending the Chili Peppers shows were still in elementary school when the definitive SoCal punk/funk/rap/alt outfit was just breaking out and wearing socks in unusual places. But you don't need to know the Peppers' entire catalog to get what they do. With high energy and rebellious spirit, the Chili Peppers gave the crowd of mostly Ohio State students plenty to cheer about -- Flea's thick bass lines intertwined with drummer Chad Smith's strident beats and guitarist John Frusciante's intricate soloing and vibrating funk melodies to make for an inspired show.
Bouncing around stage with the vigor of a 14-year-old with ADD, singer Anthony Kiedis led the band through basically two styles -- the songs were either funked up ("Give It Away," "My Lovely Man," and "I Like Dirt") or laid back ("Scar Tissue," "Under the Bridge," and "Otherside"). While the two styles generally clashed, Kiedis continually made the transitions seamless, delivering bouncy rap one moment and pleasant crooning the next. Significantly, the band played nothing from One Hot Minute, the album that featured substitute guitarist Dave Navarro, and the show wasn't a greatest hits gig. "Behind the Sun," "Higher Ground," "Fire," and "Soul to Squeeze" didn't make the cut. Instead, the Peppers opted for a more diverse concert, featuring six tracks from their latest album, Californication, and other gems ("Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," and "If You Have to Ask"), which showcased their maturation and evolution. Unless you were a diehard fan, the middle section of the show did drag, but was still entertaining. Your next opportunity to see the Peppers with the Foo Fighters (who canceled this date because singer-guitarist Dave Grohl was sick) comes in July, when the groups come to Blossom. Judging by the Columbus show, there was plenty to warrant seeing the show.
Openers Muse created a lot of energy and havoc onstage with a Radiohead-meets-Nirvana set that succeeded in capturing the attention of the young crowd. Heavy guitar work and over-the-top theatrics make this powerful trio worth keeping an eye on.