Music Opinion

Chili Peppers hot despite picky fans packing a sad

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Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis

Big news recently was the anticipated return to local stages of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, writes IA's music man David Kowalski. However, it seems not everyone was impressed.

CHILI PEPPERS SETLIST NOT RED HOT

Never mind the fact that band members are now aged in their 60s and still bring considerable energy to the stage, nor the fact they are extremely talented musicians, some punters were annoyed at the setlist — apparently, they played too many new songs.

The Chilis released two 17-song albums in the last 12 months. The band performed here largely to support those albums and to get fans excited about them — not to play their top five most streamed songs on Spotify. Seriously!

One punter complained in the Murdoch press that she had spent $200 on a ticket and the band didn’t even play 'Under the Bridge'. (Maybe it’s because they might be tired of playing it almost every night for the last 30 years?) How rude — that the Chili Peppers failed to perform as her personal jukebox. 

I didn’t see them this time around. However, I can guarantee they didn’t play my favourite song of theirs on this tour, or anything else from the 1980s (when I thought they were at their zany best). 

CAMP COPE CALL IT A DAY

The other big news in music circles is that Melbourne band Camp Cope are parting ways.

Social media comments indicate there will be few tears shed among certain sections of music fans. (They don’t bear repeating: the depth of sexism and misogyny is genuinely unprintable.) The fact that the band ruffled so many feathers is a testament to the necessity of its existence in the first place.

Camp Cope was a controversial band because, as young women, the band members dared to stand up and tell stories of sexism and worse, from a lived-experience perspective.

Irrespective of the fact that singer Georgia Maq says she doesn’t make her music for old "cis white blokes" like me, she sang words that everyone needs to hear and to reflect on — including yours truly.

Camp Cope presented an important and challenging voice for change. Its music challenged me for the better – to reconsider and perhaps change my thinking on certain issues – as any good piece of art should.

I’m sad now that all that’s left are the three slabs of long-playing vinyl in my record collection. Individually, I'm sure the girls will continue to agitate and make their presence felt. I look forward to seeing where their muses take them.

'LOST IN TIME' WITH MELODY POOL

A press release came across my desk recently by an acoustic artist who says: “I don’t ever want to make an album filled with pop hits. It’s always going to be me playing guitar and singing the truth.” 

That’s enough to get my attention. Couple that with the fact this release was recorded at home in a farmhouse and I’m doubly impressed.

The artist is Melody Pool and her new EP 'Lost In Timeis heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure. The truth, in this case, is 100-proof... leaving this writer wiping tears away from his keyboard.

BILLY OTTO BRINGS 'THE SOUND'

Byron Bay-born artist, surfer and environmental activist Billy Otto has been doing the rounds for a number of years now.

Infectiously groovy but with a dark undercurrent — like a moment on a stinking hot summer day just before a southerly storm blows in and drenches the washing you forgot to bring in. Brilliant.

His bio says his sound falls somewhere between Tame Impala and Radiohead, but his latest single 'The Sound' brings out some vintage funk and 80s synth-pop that would sit comfortably alongside some of the more experimental tendencies of the aforementioned.

Infectiously groovy but with a dark undercurrent — like a moment on a stinking hot summer day just before a southerly storm blows in and drenches the washing you forgot to bring in. Brilliant.

'IN THE MEANTIME', SPIN SOME SPACEHOGS

One thing you can say about 1990s pop music is that the style seemed to be ever-changing — nothing stayed still for long.

It was both futuristic and retro all at once. Where a band like Spacehog landed is anyone’s guess. It was lumped in with the Britpop scene but was an uneasy fit.

The band's biggest hit 'In The Meantimecame up randomly on my commute this week and damn if it isn’t a great song. It’s been ages since I've sung that falsetto vocal line in the intro and even longer since I’ve watched Spacehog's decidedly-odd video.

I bet it's been ages for you, too...

David Kowalski is a writer, musician, educator, sound engineer and podcaster. His podcasts 'The Sound and the Fury Podcast' and 'Audio Cumulus' can be heard exclusively here. You can follow David on Twitter @sound_fury_pod.

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