Rage Against the Machine, Finsbury Park, London
Wednesday 09 June 2010
Last Christmas, nearly two decades after they started out in California, Rage Against the Machine found themselves at No. 1 in the charts as a result of a Facebook campaign to keep Simon Cowell's X-Factor contestants away from the top slot.
The cause may not be the most important one they have ever been involved in, but Rage cannot be accused of being ungracious in their response. To put on a free gig – sorry, "victory party" – is one thing; to hold it in Finsbury Park so thousands of fans can attend is quite another.
On screen a spoof animated Cowell introducing the band acts as a reminder as to why we are here, and comedy boos turn to cheers as an airhorn provides the cue for "Testify" and a surge towards the stage. Most bands like to pace their sets, but there is no chance of that happening tonight – there are no ballads or acoustic interludes, and each song seems to be greeted more rabidly than the last, although "Know Your Enemy" inspires a particularly crazed reaction.
Despite being reunited since 2007, there is no new material and the one surprise is a cover of The Clash's "White Riot". But although their last album of original material, The Battle of Los Angeles, was released over a decade ago, the music has aged well and the passion is still there. Zack de la Rocha prowls the stage, lecturing on Gaza and British music, while each song brings a new opportunity for Tom Morello to show what an innovative guitarist he is.
Amid the mayhem, the band bring on Jon and Tracy Morter, who started the Facebook campaign, and hand them a giant cheque for charity: "Fucking up the system never felt so good", says Morello. Before a triumphant "Killing in the Name", headlines and quotes from the chart battle flashing across the screen, the slogan "You Made History" appears. A cynic might say that the campaign's true legacy will be copycat attempts every Christmas rather than the destruction of manufactured pop, but that does not stop tonight feeling like a triumph.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
X Factor 2014 results: Chloe Jasmine and Stephanie Nala sent home
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'