Punknews.org

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine: live in East Troylive in East Troy (2007)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: spalmerspalmer
(others by this writer | submit your own)

In an interview about the Nightwatchman, his solo political folk project, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello said that his album would appeal to those who "liked Rage for the right reasons." At Alpine Valley Music Theater, thousands of drunken jocks and pasty kids in baggy Ozzfest shirts.


In an interview about the Nightwatchman, his solo political folk project, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello said that his album would appeal to those who "liked Rage for the right reasons." At Alpine Valley Music Theater, thousands of drunken jocks and pasty kids in baggy Ozzfest shirts congregated for what can only be considered the wrong reasons.

However, the vast swarms of shitheads provided me with slight bemusement and proved only mildly detracting. After all, I was seeing Rage Against the Machine. Rage and I had a long history. When the reunion was announced I was beyond thrilled that I would finally see them.

A week of heavy rains in the region for a week prior to the concert caused problems in the venue. Alpine Valley Music Theater is a large outdoor amphitheater with a sloping grassy hill leading down to the stage. Massive slick areas on the grass and strips and patches of mud everywhere made navigating the area difficult. About an hour into the concert, everyone was coated in mud. However, the sloping hill approaching the stage thankfully moderated the likely rowdy crowd.

We entered in the middle of Queens of the Stone Age's set. I hardly paid attention to this band until this moment but they sounded simply sloppy and loud. The bassist was definitely off beat too many times. The one single I knew (from Guitar Hero) got the crowd energized, but all momentum was lost because of an unremarkable three-minute jam/guitar solo in the middle. The crowd responded relatively placidly to all banter from stage. The largest cheers came when the QOTSA singer mentioned Rage.

After a long break and dozens of tech and stage crew swarming the stage, Rage took the stage with Tom Morello's elderly mother introducing the band as the "best fucking band in the world." They kicked off a nearly perfect set to the typical backdrop of a red star. It seemed surreal. We were seeing Rage Against the Machine. In many ways, this carries enough connotations to sum up the entire experience, but several aspects of the show stood out.

Despite being nearly 10 years since the breakup, the band sounded tight. Zach's vocals were spot on, and Tom Morello, the human killswitch, thrashed about while playing perfectly. A definite performer, most of his solos were performed on top of the monitor. This was no "LIHNERD SKIHNERD FEATURING THE BASSIST OF LYNRD SKYNRD -- THIS SATURDAY AT THE STATE FAIR!" reunion show. This was a band, clearly professional, and clearly there to rock.

Highlights of the set included "Take the Power Back," my personal favorite and a welcome surprise in the otherwise predictable set list. During "Bullet in the Head," a light mist began to cascade downwards. The band "ended" with "Wake Up," which Zach used to squeeze in a lengthy diatribe about how the fascist powers that be are scared of us Rage fans. The drunken meatheads cheered emphatically to this. Zach then leapt into the pit in front of the stage before the band returned for the obvious encore. The band then played "Freedom," during which Morello broke his low E-string, testament to the energy he displayed. The band closed with "Killing in the Name," with the predictable chanting occurring appropriately.

Throughout the show, Zach seemed slightly less energetic than his normally frightening and almost manic stage persona of years past. But it soon dawned on me that the whole band was almost fighting back broad grins. Contrary to the deadly serious DVD presentations, in which the band appears to be humorless crusaders, it was obvious from the performance at East Troy that the band was glad to be back. The Rage might not have been as ferocious, but there may have been a little more love in the air. The Disturbed/Ozzfest fans (clearly all about the revolution), were happy that they were back, too. So was I. The show was brash, memorable, loud, unsubtle, and fun as hell. So it fit every long-simmering expectation.

Set list (out of order):

  • Testify
  • Guerilla Radio
  • Calm Like a Bomb
  • Sleep Now in the Fire
  • Bulls on Parade
  • People of the Sun
  • Vietnow
  • Tire Me
  • Bombtrack
  • Killing in the Name
  • Take the Power Back
  • Bullet in the Head
  • Wake Up
  • "Freedom" w/ "Township Rebellion" ending

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Black Keys - Rubber FactoryIra - The Body and the SoilThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundBanner Pilot - Resignation DayDrag the River - You Can't Live This WayOff With Their Heads - From The BottomMinus The Bear - Menos El OsoThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimMy Bloody Valentine - LovelessCastevet - Summer Fences

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
fox82 (August 31, 2007)

- " Zach clearly ran out of coke money"
- "He thanks Ian MacKaye in liner notes, idiot."

So what does thanking Ian MacKaye in your liner notes mean? That you instantly become a straight edge warrior?

Enough of the jock rock already, or else Limp Bizkit will be pumping out more records before you know it.

Anonymous (August 31, 2007)

The review>The reviewer

Replying to trolls and asshats totally blows your cred, bro.

Anonymous (August 31, 2007)

The sound translation could be true from small to big venue, and muddy yes, but I was confused as to why they would have sounded "off tempo"??? That should not change, and it was more likely due to the reviewer not being familiar with Eva Vulgaris...

maverick (August 31, 2007)

To whoever it was below who said QOTSA are one of the best-sounding live acts going -- I saw them open for Red Hot Chili Peppers in '04 and Nine Inch Nails in '05, both in arenas, and both times they sounded pretty muddy.

However, when I saw them on a club tour in early '05, they were the tits. Over two hours of jams, all spot-on and raging.

I just don't think QOTSA;s sound translates well into big spaces.

-Scott

jbright (August 31, 2007)

i see dante and some bro arguing over this and its funny. but on the real Rage on the SF date did bring the place down. it was pretty awesome.

Dante3000 (August 30, 2007)

I'm going to guess your reading comprehension is a little low. First, I didn't say the show was a awful, I said it wasn't as high energy as I thought it would be.
Second, I'm not just in it for the live show but when I pay to see a band live I tend to care more about it at the time. Did I say, "I then went and sold all my limited edition Rage records"? No. Did I say I hated them now? No. I just said I was a little let down.
The quality of their record material or their past feats aren't priority number one in a live show. If they suck live I'm not going to see them live. Now did Rage Against the Machine suck? No, they were good, but like I said tickets were $90, and they weren't good enough to hold the show on their own. Luckily it was a crazy day long event, so they didn't need to.
Third, maybe we were at different shows as you said they had a 45-minute set and from where I stood (looking at the set clock) they had 90 minutes.
I'm sorry if my minor criticism, of what is clearly the greatest moment of your entire life, is too much for you to handle. Perhaps you should avoid the internet in that case.
-Dante
P.S. Yeah, I'm totally fat. I've run for longer periods of time than the band was on stage and while that doesn't qualify me as some sort of athlete it does give me a little knowledge of endurance and what level the human body can preform at (especially when the entirety of their day was probably spent on a bus).

Anonymous (August 30, 2007)

one more thing, you probably shouldn't go to anymore tera melos shows because you're only going to be bummed out. they don't bring 1/2 the level of energy and violence they used to. i mean, their new album is incredible, but if you're only in it for the spectacle of their live performances, you might as well stay home and dream about the "good ol' days".

Anonymous (August 30, 2007)

like i said before, i don't know what you were expecting (the second coming of christ?) but there was no room for disappointment in their performance. zach was running back and forth on that stage like a god damn madman for the majority of their 45 minute set. tom was going apeshit during the breakdowns and was technically perfect on his solos/scratching. it was only during a couple mid-tempo songs like "renegades" that they brought it down and took a breath. i'd like to see you keep up the same amount of energy when you're their age (you're not old, you're probably just fat and lazy). stop being such a god damn critic and try to recognize a brief moment of brilliance in your otherwise pitiful existence.

Dante3000 (August 30, 2007)

Right, I should ignore the fact that almost everyone else who has seen them live recently agrees with me. Or maybe I should overlook the number of songs where Zach basically just stood there.
Like I said there were moments of extreme energy and sheer brilliance but they weren't on during the entire set.
And I saw them a long time ago when they played almost a decade ago (I'm old) and they were much better then. Perhaps they're a little tighter now (as I said "Renegades" seemed like the only one they slipped up on noticeably) but the energy was alway what I was for, so it kind of sucks to see that toned down a little.
But yeah, I was totally at another show...
-Dante

Anonymous (August 30, 2007)

dante, you obviously weren't at the same show i was. they DESTROYED the san francisco date. i don't know what the hell you were expecting, but i saw them back in 1999 and in my opinion they picked up exactly where they left off. zach and tom have more energy and talent than almost any musician i've ever seen.

Anonymous (August 30, 2007)

wow the dude complaining about the age of Rage fans a decade ago is a douche. Lighten the fuck up.

maxethunders (August 29, 2007)

Great concert, but please no more social commentary about how you are fighting the power more than everyone else theres enough of that bullshit on this website already.

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

""...yet, you just "aged dropped" yourself for what reason exactly?"

uhhhhhhh, to explain why I found your comment offensive."

Did you throw it on between your Raffi tapes and "slam dance"?

burningfeeetman (August 29, 2007)

"...yet, you just "aged dropped" yourself for what reason exactly?"

uhhhhhhh, to explain why I found your comment offensive.

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

Yeah, Rise Against played and so did Against Me! So there was lots of against-ing going on.

No, Rise Against didn't open.

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

did rise against open this show?

Swook (August 29, 2007)

"I find posts like this offensive. I mean, I'm 19 and I've been listening to Rage Against the Machine since I was 6 or 7. It is possible to like good music before you have to look cool on the internet.
And giving someone shit for when they were born, now that is some real middle school shit."

...yet, you just "aged dropped" yourself for what reason exactly?

Spalmer (August 29, 2007)

"Inside I saw a dude wearing a t-shirt with a confederate flag behind a nude woman spreading her legs with stars over her nipples and a pot leaf over her crotch. I wanted to pummel him."

Holy shit, I saw that, too. My friend was like, "that dude just had a shirt with a Confederate flag and a pot leaf on it." And I saw it and was like "Wow."

burningfeeetman (August 29, 2007)

"Oh, my bad...

You: 19
1996: 11 years ago
19-11= 8 years old...

You must have had a REALLY strong impact from Rage all that time ago. THIS is why I say your article sounds like you heard about them out of Rolling Stone, you would have remembered nothing about them their first time around"

I find posts like this offensive. I mean, I'm 19 and I've been listening to Rage Against the Machine since I was 6 or 7. It is possible to like good music before you have to look cool on the internet.
And giving someone shit for when they were born, now that is some real middle school shit.

And I just want to say that I wish Tom Morello's mom was at the New York Rock the Bells.I think that would've surpassed Scott Ian coming out during Public Enemy as most memorable moment of the day.

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

The show really was fucking amazing.

And a lot of the fans were idiots. I saw a bush/cheney bumper sticker in the parking lot. I chuckled. Inside I saw a dude wearing a t-shirt with a confederate flag behind a nude woman spreading her legs with stars over her nipples and a pot leaf over her crotch. I wanted to pummel him.

Deadpan (August 29, 2007)

Haha, like Rage for the "right reasons"? Oh jeez. Tom Morello's a dick. What the hell are those right reasons? To pump the pockets of various record CEOs full of cash whilst they spout hypocritical horseshit?

I don't see how anyone can take RATM's politics seriously. They have some fun, anthemic songs. But that's it.

Swook (August 29, 2007)

Oh, my bad...

You: 19
1996: 11 years ago
19-11= 8 years old...

You must have had a REALLY strong impact from Rage all that time ago. THIS is why I say your article sounds like you heard about them out of Rolling Stone, you would have remembered nothing about them their first time around

Spalmer (August 29, 2007)

"A long history" would be what? Mommy and Daddy not letting you go to the Evil Empire tour because you were 11 and would have been trampled by anarchists?"

Boy, people can't read:
"I first heard Rage on Christmas day 1996 when my parents got "Evil Emipre" for my brother"

" Zach clearly ran out of coke money"

He thanks Ian MacKaye in liner notes, idiot.

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

The rain and mud made the show great. And yes, at any show there will be idiots. I saw people leave 5 songs into Rages Set... that was the only moment in which I had some Rage ha. Otherwise, great setlist and the only way it could have been better was if it was longer...

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

How can anyone take these asshats seriously? Zach clearly ran out of coke money (where are all the hiphop and punk records you said you were gonna do, brah?) and the other three couldn't deal with their smackhead of singer. Reunion tour? You bet...

As far as politics go, you really got to be living in some fucking state of mind to declare your rock band's reunion a major blow to a government that's on its way out. I mean, dude, you're no Dylan or Crass, you play the fucking guitar to a bunch of sweaty date-raping jocks.

Anonymous (August 29, 2007)

"A long history" would be what? Mommy and Daddy not letting you go to the Evil Empire tour because you were 11 and would have been trampled by anarchists?

Spalmer (August 28, 2007)

I like them both about equally, and I've seen Propagandhi live, too. (they were great)

I would give Propagandhi an edge on being more punx and having not as stupid fans, although their show had lots of them too

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

A review criticizing a band I like > Dismissing an entire review for criticizing a band I like.

While we're at it: Propagandhi > Rage ??

Spalmer (August 28, 2007)

Also- did anyone else's ears bleed during Tom's "Calm Like A Bomb" solo?

And does anyone think this will be a DVD? They had lots of cameras that were filming stuff not on the monitors, ones on big boom arms and stuff.

Spalmer (August 28, 2007)

"No, it is unprofessional allright..."

Actually, I said it was unprofessional. So I agree with you, I don't know what the hell you are talking about.

And looking back, I don't know how you could have gotten the impression that I just heard about Rage- the line about "Rage and I having a long history" didn't do anything for you?

And you overlooked where I agreed I was being unprofessional (I just don't care). And you were the one making all the ad hominem attacks after I refuted every stupid assumption you made. So I'm done with you.

I'm just arguing because I'm bored and have nothing better to do.

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

"It may be unprofessional, but you're just being an obnoxious troll. Go away. You're wrong about everything you said, alright?"

No, it is unprofessional allright...

Did I hit a button with you geez, your argument is so ad hominem its rediculous...

oh wait, go ahead and google it, I'll wait...

Spalmer (August 28, 2007)

Wow, sure isn't very appropriate or professional to respond to criticism on your review with personal attacks and cursing on a site you post reviews for...very...well, pre-teen of you.

It may be unprofessional, but you're just being an obnoxious troll. Go away. You're wrong about everything you said, alright?

nocigar (August 28, 2007)

dude, i was there. it was so fucking insane, my clothes are still SOAKED in mud, i fell into the pit on my back and thought i was going to get stomped. it was GREAT.

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

""When did 12 year olds start writing reviews for this site?
Everything you say makes you seem like you first heard of Rage when the re-capped their carrer in Rolling Stone when they ran an article announcing they were playing Coachella...
I can also not trust anyone's opinion on a show who says that QOTSA sound like crap...those guys are always very tight on stage and you don't have to like their music to admit that...your comments were just an obvious attempt to bash a band you don't care for.
Score is for pre-teen reviewers on the site."

Hey, dumb fucker. I'm 19. I don't read Rolling Stone. I first heard Rage on Christmas day 1996 when my parents got "Evil Emipre" for my brother. QOTSA were sloppy, my music major friend commented on it. Eat my fucking balls."

Wow, sure isn't very appropriate or professional to respond to criticism on your review with personal attacks and cursing on a site you post reviews for...very...well, pre-teen of you.

inagreendase (August 28, 2007)

I saw them at the NYC Rock the Bells. Aside from some sloppy moments here and there, notably from Commerford and even Morello himself, they were pretty fantastic.

Spalmer (August 28, 2007)

"When did 12 year olds start writing reviews for this site?
Everything you say makes you seem like you first heard of Rage when the re-capped their carrer in Rolling Stone when they ran an article announcing they were playing Coachella...
I can also not trust anyone's opinion on a show who says that QOTSA sound like crap...those guys are always very tight on stage and you don't have to like their music to admit that...your comments were just an obvious attempt to bash a band you don't care for.
Score is for pre-teen reviewers on the site."

Hey, dumb fucker. I'm 19. I don't read Rolling Stone. I first heard Rage on Christmas day 1996 when my parents got "Evil Emipre" for my brother. QOTSA were sloppy, my music major friend commented on it. Eat my fucking balls.

jacknife737 (August 28, 2007)

hopefully RATM decide to do a proper tour at some point. Set list looks decent too. But yeah, RATM has some of the most annoying fans in the world (see metal-heads, and Nu-metal fans who can barely spell the word p o l i t i c s)

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

When did 12 year olds start writing reviews for this site?

Everything you say makes you seem like you first heard of Rage when the re-capped their carrer in Rolling Stone when they ran an article announcing they were playing Coachella...

I can also not trust anyone's opinion on a show who says that QOTSA sound like crap...those guys are always very tight on stage and you don't have to like their music to admit that...your comments were just an obvious attempt to bash a band you don't care for.

Score is for pre-teen reviewers on the site.

steveman (August 28, 2007)

The show sounds good, but I have to say, in the end, I'm glad I sold my tickets off. I would have loved to see Rage, but in the end I didn't want to pay $75 for good music and stupid people.

Spalmer (August 28, 2007)

"Is there a right reason to like Rage"

Yes, I think it is admirable that they are one of the few huge mainstream bands to actually stand for something. Just because they have DUDE HAMMERING RIFFS DUDE and some stupid people might like that doesn't take away from it. It helps if you largely agree with their politics, which I do as well. I take issue with people who want to make exclusive political music/thought. You have to spread it to everyone for any change to occur.

"Those 'meatheads,' as you affectionately refer to them as, need to see what real live bands actually sound like so that their standards get raised a little. Maybe this is a sign of things to come."

I agree, anyone with vision and hearing should walk away knowing that a Rage show is a fuckin' rock and roll concert. I'm sure Ozzfest (the week before at the same venue) was fucking atrocious.

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

I saw Rage in 1994 with the Jesus Lizard on the Evil Empire Tour. They are one of the most impressive live bands of my lifetime and I'm glad they are back in action. Those 'meatheads,' as you affectionately refer to them as, need to see what real live bands actually sound like so that their standards get raised a little. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.

allthesame (August 28, 2007)

Hey man.. Great review. I feel the same way you do about it. People essentially get it or don't. There is this false dichotomy that Rage are either men or gods, and its hard to see them as some dudes who might have had some beers and enjoyed performing the fucking rock and roll that they craft like no other. I myself see them as omnipotent as well i cant deny, and any human trait almost complete devalues my experience and expectations. But thats bullshit ya know. And that it hilarious to me about queens of the stone age, my thoughts exactly. who? that guy might very well be the worst front man of all time.

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

Is there a right reason to like Rage?

telegraphrocks (August 28, 2007)

My friend and I got free tickets the day-of the show, and immediately drove from Chicago.

Showed up right as they opened with "Testify"... nice fucking timing. Sucks for the hundreds/thousands people stuck in traffic behind us that probably missed at least half (if not all) of Rage's set.

Easily one of best and most memorable shows I've ever been to.

Yeah.

baseball (August 28, 2007)

sounds like a good reunion show

i saw them on the Battle of Los Angeles tour and thought they were great live back then, good to see they still have it (at least sometimes, based on the other comments)

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

Spot on about the Rock the Bells show. I was at the LA one and left slightly dissapointed by their show.

Amazingthemike (August 28, 2007)

QOTSA > RATM

Dante3000 (August 28, 2007)

I caught them at Rock the Bells in San Francisco and I was a little let down. It was nice to see them play some of my favorite songs (minus the botched "Renegades of Funk") but they really didn't have as much energy as I remembered. There were moments where the whole band would just seem to go off, but they did seem a good deal more mellow than they had been in years past, especially considering how ape shit the crowd was.
Over all it was a good show but certainly not worth the $80 alone, thank god there was a ton of other great acts to pick up the slack.
-Dante

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

Is it true that Rise Against also played this show?

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go