Issue 4 Contents


Rage Against The Machine
Wallace Civic Center
August 6, 1996

Although I know its a cliche I think Rage Against the Machine is probably the most important band of the 1990's. Not only does their music serve to inspire and inform, but their live show rocks the hell out of ya for a $15.00 ticket (plus $3.00 service charge), and a T-shirt only costs $10 from the official vendors inside. Rage is on the road proving that it is possible to give fans a 100% rock-your-ass-off performance and not gouge them for overpriced tickets and merchandise.

Sure the show in Fitchburg is a little out of the way, but only an hour from Boston. The arena however was tiny - capacity 4,100 - a perfect place to really get to see a band. Rage doesn't go for any big staging or lights, but the Wallace Civic Center only has one set of doors so the temperature inside was around 9 billion degrees. Rage performed on a bare stage, except for an upside down American flag hung over one of the amps as a reminder of the "machine" that Rage wants you to be aware of.

Rage planned to hang a similar flag during their Saturday Night Live performance, but a stage hand tore it down just as their first song started.

Apparently SNL or NBC or guest host Steve Forbes or somebody thought it inappropriate. Anyway Rage only got to play one song due to "time constraints," and Steve Forbes got a torn-up flag in his dressing room as a gift. They never mentioned the incident or pointed out the flag, which I thought was pretty cool. Rage is angry, not whiney.

I missed the opening band, Jesus Lizard since I drove up after work, but I arrived right on time for Rage. Since I had a photo pass, I was allowed into the bouncer pit where the poor security guys were fishing out crowd surfers and over-heated kids. Everybody was surfing and chanting and sweating like crazy event hough there was no music.

Rage came out and took control of the pit from the beginning. Their intensity is unbelievable. Zack de la Rocha runs all over the place screaming his lyrical venom and channeling pure RAGE through his body. He jumped, pumped, and even slammed his way around the stage while the rest of the band stayed mostly in place pumping him along.


Guitarist Tom Morello can make his instrument sound like a scratching record, a siren, or anything else he feels like. Its his playing that really makes the difference. The throbbing bass and drums are good, but the guitar parts sounded excellent. During "Bullet in Your Head" his solo ripped through the sweaty air and really got people moving.

Everybody in attendance seemed to be in heaven. There we were stuck way out in the country with nothing to do but dance and sweat. I swetted through my T-shirt before they finished the first song "Bomb Track." After that and throughout the rest of the show sweat poured down my legs and back- even without the shirt it was impossible to stop. However I wouldn't have traded my ticket for all the AC in the world.

After "Bombtrack" came

"People of the Sun," "Vietnow," "Fistfull of Steal," "Snake Charmed," "Know your Enemy," "Without a Face," "Revolver,"and "Bullet in the Head." The only time the band stopped was to wipe the sweat of their hands between songs. Although I expected Zack to make a few election year speeches urging people to vote he didn't make a peep. The only time Zack did stop to say something was when he tried to find out who tore a girls shirt off while she was crowd surfing, "Hey there's enough shit going on out there for women to deal with. Everybody should be able to come to a Rage show and not have to worry about dealing with that shit."


That was really the only problem that I saw the whole show. The whole floor of the arena was a huge mosh pit of course, but people seemed to respect each other. There were a few gorilla pits of guys shoving and smashing the hell out of each other, but there was also enough space for me and my friends the hang out and just jump around safely. We had a blast jumping and sweating and screaming out "Fuck you I won't do what your tell me!!" over and over.

After "Bullet" Rage left the stage without saying anything. People knew they'd be back to play "Bulls on Parade" so instead of chanting and clapping everybody tried to cool off for a few seconds. Everybody was drenched but nobody seemed to mind. Instead of yelling for more or increasing the heat with a lighter held high, most people tried to catch a few good deep breaths of air before Rage returned.

Rage came back fairly quickly to do a quick run through of "Bulls on Parade" and "In the name of." "Bulls" of course got everybody within earshot jumping up and down like crazy. Rage did a great version that really rocked the house.

After "In the Name of" Rage left the stage again and most people started to leave. Since they didn't turn on the house lights some people stayed to see what was going on. After a few minuets Rage did return again for a few songs- the excellent "Down Rodeao" and the screaming "Freedom" to end it.

Since there was a little more room to move on the floor things really rocked. By the time Rage did "Freedom" it was hard to believe that Zack could still sing, let alone scream Freedom! over and over. I give him credit- he's got the vocal chops to scream his way through a full hour and a half without loosing it.

Although it seemed like Rage was only on for a little while they managed to pack almost 15 songs into an hour and a half. Sure they played all their "hits" but what do you expect from a band with only two CDs? The intensity and energy the band creates is really unbelievable. They've managed to mix a really decent political message into music that funks you up , rocks you out, then sends you home wondering who the hell your going to vote for. (hopefully)

As we left the show we took the time to sign the petitions at the "music freedom" booth inside. Rage supports musical freedom, and for this show the Massachusetts Music Industry Coalition was handing out flyers and getting people to sign a petition against censorship.

If you haven't heard of the racist campaign launched by C. Delores Tucker and William Bennett you should really check it out using the handy link below.