Rage Against the Machine Friday, Sept. 12, the Gorge
About three-quarters of the way into an expectedly intense show, Rage Against the Machine mellowed out.
The band went into a jazzy groove while lead singer Zack De La Rocha addressed the beefed-up security on hand in case the 10,000-plus crowd became a danger to itself.
“You have the nerve to call us violent,” De La Rocha said, then cited 80,000 cases of police brutality in the United States last year. “You belong to the most violent gang in America.”
Just days before the concert, Grant County Sheriff Bill Wiester sought to have the show canceled because he feared Rage Against the Machine, notorious for its intolerance of perceived injustice and oppression in America, was a threat to public safety.
Officers from neighboring counties assisted the doubled efforts of staff security in the arrests of 79 people, most of whom were cited for underage drinking and marijuana use, according to the Associated Press.
Later during the performance, De La Rocha threatened to cut the show short if he saw women being harassed in the audience.
“Women shouldn’t have to be afraid at a Rage Against the Machine show,” De La Rocha said.
Aside from the politics looming over the night, Rage played with the fluidity of nitroglycerin.
The bouncy grit in Rage’s music inspired the audience into a pogo-dancing frenzy. That kind of energy fueled the on-cue chanting of song choruses rich in rap and metal such as “Bullet in Your Head,” and “Pocket Full of Shells.”
The stomach-churning thickness of bass lines and guitar riffs sounded a precise compliment to the anguished, yet stunningly clear vocals of De La Rocha.
Atari Teenage Riot and Wu-Tang Clan replacement, the Roots, opened the show.
Atari Teenage Riot played a recipe of techno/rap/rock that was woefully overdone. Subscribing to the theory that pushing the volume to level eleven, Riot played so loud they were inaudible.
The Roots pleased the crowd by covering hip-hop artists such as Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan, and Afrika Bambaata.
Their human beatbox, dubbed the Godfather of Noize, amazed listeners with his voice, recreating songs from the likes of Beck, Soundgarden and A Tribe Called Quest.