The anti-heroes of rock and rap, Prophets of Rage, are set to roll into a supersized arena near you. Comprised of members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, their nationwide “Make America Rage Again” tour touches directly on the complex topic of politics and how it is used to push people around.
Some writers have derided this super group as simplistic in their message, but the musicians are clearly serious: they were banned at the last minute by correction officers from playing inside the California Rehabilitation Center for 800 prisoners. Meanwhile, they’ve designated a portion of their un-cost-prohibitive ticket sales to provide rehabilitation for the homeless.
And speaking of politics, the band recently played live for free in Cleveland, Ohio, to call out the Republican National Convention, and yet their whole anti-politics shtick isn’t just anti-GOP. Cypress Hill’s B-Real has called for voters to write in Prophets of Rage for president come November.
On Saturday, dead-end kids with mullets wearing death metal band shirts, badass skateboarders looking to land on their groin over and over again, and biker types straight out of Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels, were the rebel outliers at the Barclays Center as Prophets of Rage opened its set list by confirming its allegiance to the crowd, with the blasting of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.”
Mixing rap and metal, the diverse young and old headbangers moshed, crowd-surfed, and hurled themselves onto the stage, while lobbing beer in the air and sneakers at the band, as physical chaos was met with clouds of weed wafting overhead.
All that was missing from the onslaught was a Charles Bukowski hologram reading. And so, the screaming tremolos of guitarist Tom Morello, the shrill bass of Tim Commerford, the explosive dynamics of drummer Brad Wilk, and the splattered rapping styles of B-Real and Chuck D were so distinctive and contagious, gathering so much momentum that it led to this summer’s ultimate mosh party.
The hooks of “Know Your Enemy,” “Bombtrack,” and “Sleep Now in the Fire” caught security personnel so off guard that manly men with reserved seats climbed over ushers and barricades to join the tension-releasing general admission floor brawls.
The drunk and angry crowd got some breathers when Tom Morello requested that moneyed types out there donate some cash on the way out to WhyHunger, a world hunger relief organization. A fraction of the night’s proceeds would go to WhyHunger as well.
B-Real also took the opportunity to address the absence of Rage Against the Machine bandleader Zach de la Rocha: “We are so thankful to Zach for allowing Chuck D and me to be a bullhorn for his lyrics.”
The lovable loser types, wearing red and white “Make America Rage Again” trucker hats, with their broken bones and black eyes, gently applauded.
Like most rock shows that scoff at the status quo, it was a good place to schluff off life’s quotidian BS. And looking ahead at the rock scene’s fall lineup, any other show after this one will be downhill. Prophets of Rage will be like a dream home purchase in a credit bubble.
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