By Scott Sterling
“It has to start somewhere/It has to start sometime/What better place than here, what better time than now?”
The lyrics to Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerilla Radio” carry the same if not more weight and relevance today as they did when the song was first released back in 1999.
Rap-rock super-group Prophets of Rage roared new life into that song and a slew of other classic tracks from Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill at the freshly minted act’s June 3 show at the Hollywood Palladium, only its second show since being revealed.
Featuring Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine with P.E.’s Chuck D and B-Real of Cypress Hill handling vocals, Prophets of Rage arrive at a time when America needs a loud and rebellious blast of anti-establishment rock amidst the most volatile political climate in decades.
In the same way that all three bands flew in the face of conservative swells in both the ‘80s with Public Enemy and the ‘90s with Rage and Cypress Hill, the politically powered Prophets of Rage harness their collective powers to create a unit that feels natural and almost destined.
Both Chuck D and B-Real possess distinctive and powerful voices that can match and cut through the massive wall of riffs produced by the band behind them.
Tom Morello continues to cement his status as the guitar hero’s guitar hero, still displaying new and innovative ways to conjure a seemingly endless array of sounds from his six-string.
Charging through Rage Against the Machine fan favorites like “Testify,” “Bombtrack” and “People of the Sun,” the band dedicated a section of the show to Chuck D and B-Real blazing through their own band’s hit songs with just a DJ, including “Bring the Noise” (Public Enemy) and “Hand on the Pump” (Cypress Hill).
With Chuck D dedicating the show to fallen boxing legend Muhammad Ali who died earlier in the day, the band also paid tribute to the Beastie Boys with a version of “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” that merged into a take on P.E.’s “Fight the Power.”
B-Real directed new song “The Party’s Over” at Donald Trump, imploring the crowd (a diverse mix of old-school fans and a younger set hungry for classic riffs and raps) to utilize their collective energy towards social and political action.
Proceeds from the $20 show were donated to the charity PATH (People Assisting The Homeless).
“These words needed to be heard,” B-Real shouted towards the end of the show, with Zach de la Rocha’s name being invoked by Chuck D for his powerful Rage Against the Machine lyricism as they ended on the one-two punch of RATM “Bulls on Parade” and “Killing in the Name.”
Representing three of the most controversial and politically charged bands of their respective eras, Prophets of Rage roar with a righteous anger and socially conscious passion that’s essential in 2016.