They may be a strange choice to open for the Chilis but Babymetal came out and did what they do best – confuse, entertain and win over the crowd. As the teen J-pop metal trio entered to Babymetal Death, there was a small but enthusiastic crowd at the front and a sea of bewildered faces behind them. Meta Taro galloped through as though in an epic video game battle and a high octane performance of Catch Me If You Can, led by a show-off intro from the Kami band finally saw some of the bewildered faces getting into the show.
Megitsune has the girls honouring their Fox God and even managing to get some crowd participation going, but it was Karate that stood out, the solid opening riff thundering over the crowd like a thrust kick to the chest – possibly too heavy for the majority of Chilis fans. Closing with their more accessible energetic breakthrough internet hit Gimmie Chocolate!! their 30-minute set was over all too soon. It’s surely time for Babymetal to get their own full headline tour.
Red Hot Chili Peppers were the headliner though, and despite the huge cheering crowd it took them a while to get going, but when they finally kick in with Around The World it sets the party going. The pace doesn’t last long however, as they followed with the solid but slow Otherside and then tailed off with Snow.
Dressed like some form of hipster manchild, when Anthony Kiedis sings his voice comes across soulful and clear. Unfortunately, once he flips back to his trademark scatty rhyme he’s often less intelligible than Babymetal, who sing in Japanese. To his credit, even at 50 he can give them a run for their money at crazy dancing.
Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar is so overly saturated with effects it’s only brief moments when you can actually hear what notes he’s actually playing. Also, drop crotch tracksuit bottoms are not a good look on anyone.
It’s the rhythm section that save the band. Chads drums lead and Flea is just Flea, bouncing round the stage slapping out always clearly defined funky lines on his bass.
The crowd lapped it up, but the set is far too full of post-Californication material. Aeroplane and Higher Ground are a welcome surprise but it’s not enough. Chilis are well and truly an arena rock band these days, but hey, those weird dangling moving glowstick-esque lights were pretty cool.