Sunday, June 06, 2010

Raging against machines

Just got back from seeing Rage Against the Machine in Finsbury Park. I've been running around Finsbury Park for about three years but never thought I would see one of my favourite bands - from my teenager years at least - play there for free. But then it's funny how life works out. 

The set list was full of  well known songs, to any Rage fan at least, and was preceded by a very funny animated version of Simon Cowell bemoaning "the horrible Rage Against the Machine" for denying him the chance to make more money with X Factor. Later on, before the final song, Killing in the Name was played (which was why everyone had ended up in the middle of my local running park) a little montage of the race to Christmas Number one was played, which drew load cheers. This was played over the top of Joe McElderry's The Climb, which was a nice touch.

During the middle of the set, including the songs, Bombtrack, Bullet in the Head, Testify, Bulls on Parade and Freedom, Jon and Tracy Morter, the two people who set up the Facebook group and caused the whole shindig (and who I follow on Twitter), were brought on stage so that a cheque of a significant amount could be handed to the UK homeless organisation Shelter, combined of the sales of the signal donated in full by Rage, and the money donated by all the fans buying the single too. A great mix of music and politics, done without any of the crass showmanship of, say, a Bono or Sting.

Speaking of which, frontman Zach de la Rocha was impassioned as ever, issuing several rallying cries, specifically regarding the recent Gaza blockade issues, and other similar things, and he remains one of the few singers in the world with genuine stage presence and an ability to mix sincerity with a righteous anger. Lines such as "Your anger is a gift", and "All hell, can't stop us now" would never sound as convincing if the man delivering them didn't have a personality to carry of such heavy handed sentiments. 

Throughout, it as funny to think I was watching a band who I used to listen to on shared headphone on the school bus home. Back then Rage were no more, having split up, and my friends and I often lamented what a shame it was we would never see them. Eventually though, with a bit of patience, it turns out they would come to me anyway. Fantastic.

Walking out to the sight, feeling a bit peckish, I thought I'd buy some chips. The wagon promised "chunky, tasty chips" and the pictures looked good. I paid up my cash, a slightly high £2.50, and bit into what were some nasty, dry, tastless, cold chips. "Believing all the lies that they're selling ya..." never seemed so apt.

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