Red Hot Chili Peppers

If ever there was a band that didn't seem built for the long haul, it's the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When they started out in '80s-era SoCal, the Peppers were a gimmicky concert phenom thanks to (literally) balls-out performances, but most of their material didn't hold up once the socks came off the cocks. To make matters worse, drug abuse did a number on lead singer Anthony Kiedis and killed guitarist Hillel Slovak -- and Slovak's replacement, John Frusciante, soon proved to be several different kinds of crazy. For these reasons and more, the success of Stadium Arcadium, a double CD that remains near the top of sales charts nearly five months after its release, is flat-out astonishing. Granted, this same term can't be used to describe Arcadium's music, which feels redundant and overly familiar, particularly by the second disc. But if the Mars Volta remains the really exciting outfit on this bill, Kiedis and pals are still an entertaining live act who've survived a lot longer than anyone could have expected. Guess they were built pretty well after all.


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