This weekend, at Wisconsin’s Alpine Valley music venue, Rage Against The Machine played its first live show together in 11 years—a reunion that was announced back in 2019 (check out the prescient headline on that story) and was intended to coincide with the presidential election before getting delayed because of COVID. And, as you might expect for Rage Against The Machine, there was some raging to be had. (Uh oh, don’t let some incredibly stupid people find out!)
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the show had barely any actual talking or banter from onstage, but a screen behind the band regularly showed relevant imagery like “a border patrol agent posing menacingly with a barking German Shepherd,” “an El Paso police van burning in slow-motion,” and “a boy with a blindfold busting open a piñata that looked like an ICE agent.” The most direct message, though (yes, more direct than a kid hitting a piñata of an ICE agent), was a statement projected onto the screen about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade:
Forced birth in a country where Black birth-givers experience maternal mortality two to three times higher than that of white birth-givers. Forced birth in a country where gun violence is the number one cause of death among children and teenagers. ABORT THE SUPREME COURT.
Elsewhere during the show, there was apparently a “riveting” moment where Zack de la Rocha “quietly repeated” the line “I think I heard a shot” over and over during “Wake Up,” and the lyrics to “Killing In The Name” (which recently went viral as part of a radio station’s marketing scheme) were changed to mention that it’s not just police but some politicians who “burn crosses.”
The Journal Sentinel also notes that Rage is donating $475,000 raised from ticket sales for this show and two more at the United Center near Chicago to “reproductive rights organizations in Wisconsin and Illinois.”