Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gnarls Barkley
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been bragging about their wild-style freakitude for decades, but little speaks to the Peppers' belief in their own out-thereness like their current choice in opener: Gnarls Barkley, the eccentric electro-soul duo featuring DJ/producer Danger Mouse and former Goodie Mob frontman Cee-Lo.
No record in 2006 was more unique than Gnarls's St. Elsewhere, on which Cee-Lo sings beautifully about psychosis, suicide, and sex over Danger Mouse's tuneful chopup of hip-hop, funk, and art rock. And few albums were more celebrated: "Crazy," the CD's big single, has earned best-song honors in countless year-end polls, and it has helped convince a record biz in perpetual crisis that the cross-demographic smash isn't extinct. The duo and back-up band play all of their live shows in full costume they've done Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, and Sunset Strip hair metal themes, among many others which provides a neat visual metaphor for Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo's shared taste for musically stylistic dressup. After nearly a year of touring, it'll be interesting to see how deep the inspiration well still runs.
The Chili Peppers have long displayed a fondness for costume as well socks on cocks spring to mind, as do a set of flame-equipped construction-worker helmets. The rich creative stew of last year's double-disc Stadium Arcadium certainly provides the requisite inspiration for any wardrobe jump-off, but it also demonstrates how ably the band can rely upon its less outré knack for tuneful, funk-inflected alt-rock (especially when compared to the oddball brew of Gnarls's St. Elsewhere disc). Perhaps despite their best efforts, the Peppers have become what they once feared: a bunch of pros. Mikael Wood
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.