Los Angeles Rages Again With Prophets Of Rage

Prophets of Rage
September 15, 2016
Forum- Los Angeles, CA

     2011 was the last time Rage Against The Machine had a show in Los Angeles; It was part of the LA Rising festival which packed the entire Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which holds a little over 93,000 people. Since then, they’ve been silent, until May of 2016 when a mysterious countdown began on the Prophets of Rage website. Eventually the announcement was made of a supergroup consisting of Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill joining in. They made the tour announcement and of course some people were not too happy with the exclusion of RATM lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, and others were just happy to see this supergroup live.

Kicking off the show were Los Angeles locals, Awolnation. The band has two studio albums, the latest being Run, which released in 2015. As the lights dimmed, a man in a spacesuit walked on stage holding a lantern. Fans cheered in excitement as the members walked out on stage one by one. They began their short set with one of their most popular hits to date, Run (Beautiful Things). Lead singer Aaron Bruno is extremely fascinating to watch on stage, his movements and excited energy is something that is really captivating and the audience was really enjoying it, although it was clear that many didn’t know who these guys were. The night continued with Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) and was followed by People. As the set progressed, the crowd got more and more into the show, which is kinda hard not to do when the band is just permeating energy, especially lead guitarist Zach Irons. Irons did an amazing job, constantly head-banging and jumping off the ground like it was too hot to stand on. He was extremely entertaining and did a great job holding up the part, considering he just recently joined the band in 2015. The band continued through their electronic rock set with I Am, Kill Your Heroes and of course ended their set with their most popular song, Sail. 

prophets-of-rage-21Following an impressive set, it was the time everyone had been anticipating, Prophets of Rage. The fans were there, the skeptics were there, both interested and curious to see this play out. DJ Lord entertained the crowd with a mix of hip-hop and rock for about 15 minutes before the band hit the stage. Just before the band came out, Mary Morello, Tom Morello’s mom, came out onto the stage. She introduced herself and put a fist in the air, “I’m Mary Morello. I’m 92 years old. I’d like to introduce the best fucking band in the universe! Prophets of Rage!” The entire Forum burst into cheers as sirens played in the background. One by one members came out on stage, each holding a fist in the air, kicking the night off with Prophets of Rage. The group instantly played some of RATM biggest hits, Guerilla Radio and Bombtrack, both of which had the entire venue jumping up and down. B-Real and Chuck D took on the role of Zack de la Rocha, but made it their own, which genuinely had me impressed. Tom Morello is a beast which really goes without saying. He was jumping and posing and was never in one place or stance for more than a few seconds.

After several songs, Tom Morello took to the microphone explaining how it’s been 17 years since he and the other members of Rage have played at the Forum. He went on to humbly and sincerely thank Chuck D and B-Real, as well as all the crew and the workers in the venue who, “… are here long before we get here and are here long after we go home.” Morello continued, explaining how proceeds from ticket sales from this show and every show on tour will go to a local shelter or food bank. He further addressed the meaning and purpose of the Make America Rage Tour, really giving hope and a push toward making the world a better place. “But all that can wait until tomorrow… cause tonight we’re gonna have a good motherfuckin time!”

The night, which featured 21 songs, was extremely interesting. The group not only played Rage Against the Machine songs, but mixed in Public Enemy and Cypress Hill which was a nice treat. About half way through the set, B-Real and Chuck D got a little more up close and personal with fans, when they jumped off stage and stood on the barricade while performing bits and pieces of songs including Hand on the Pump; Can’t Truss It; Insane in the Brain and more. They even went into the crowd and crowd surfed, because it isn’t a rock show unless you have crowd surfing! They finished their covers with Jump Around and quickly went back into RATM, with Sleep Now in the Fire and Bullet in the Head. The sound of the band as a whole was pretty spot on, everyone sounded really tight and the energy and chemistry between the guys was clear.

With the set quickly coming to an end, the group performed No Sleep Till Brooklyn/ Fight The Power which was followed by Bulls on Parade. After, Morello introduced a little known artist to help play the next song with them, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. B-Real and Chuck D took a backseat as Grohl took over the main singing duties, and played a little guitar to Kick Out the Jams, an MC5 cover. The night ended one song later with Killing in the Name where B-Real went onto the barricade a last time, singing with the fans.

All in all, I truly believe the doubters were put in their place by the performance delivered at the Forum that night. Each member sounded precise and Chuck D and B-Real definitely held their own. They didn’t try and replace Zack de la Rocha, nor mimic him, but they put their own spin on classic Rage songs, but kept them simple enough for the fans to thoroughly enjoy. If you like Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill or Public Enemy, I would highly suggest buying your ticket to this tour.

Review by: Nicole Lemberg 

Prophets of Rage