Playing off Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, Rage Against the Machine, B-Real, and Chuck D brought their Make America Rage Again tour to DTE on September 1, 2016.
As the rumors started to swell and the posters and billboards began to appear around Los Angeles about a possible Rage Against the Machine reunion, the hairs on my arms lit up in anticipation. With a common interest in fighting oppression and racism, members of Cypress Hill and Public Enemy were quickly added to the rumor mill. Even for this experienced music journalist, my heart was pounding, too!
What happens when you mix these iconic rappers and rockers into one package? You get a supergroup thatâ€™s on a mission to spread a simple message against hatred, corruption, and the political system. The newly formed group Prophets of Rage (from a Public Enemy song of the same name) was born and mocking Donald Trumpâ€™s campaign slogan, they launched the Make America Rage Again tour.
The quintessential collaboration of Rage Against the Machine ( minus Zach de la Rocha ), Public Enemyâ€™s Chuck D and B-Real of Cypress Hill, traded politically motivated rhymes during a two-hour set at DTE Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan. Rounding out the mix was turntablist, DJ Lord, who started regularly touring with Public Enemy back in 1999.
The night started off with 45 minutes of Lord cutting licks from the “Star Spangled Banner” and from Nirvana, Black Sabbath, and Metallica to name just a few. Prophets shared the wealth during their set with a variety of songs coming from each memberâ€™s foundation. The band got creative with arrangements when they mashed up the beat to the Audioslave song “Cochise” with the lyrics of “She Watch Channel Zero,” and “No Sleep till Brooklyn” by The Beastie Boys combined with “Fight the Power.”
Tom Morello hasnâ€™t lost a step as he shredded riff after riff throughout the night. Supported by original RATM drummer Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford on bass, the latter’s band WAKRAT opening the gig. Chuck D and B-Real took turns getting down and dirty with the crowd as they traded lead vocals, ventured off the stage into the pit and overall commanded the stage for the entire show. Public Enemyâ€™s 1987 track “Miuzi Weighs a Ton” highlighted Morello’s skills as a guitar virtuoso, and he introduced “Shut ‘Em Down” with his take on Eddie Van Halen’s “Cathedral” volume swelling techniques.
Finishing with the Rage hit, “Killing in the Name,” and it’s clear slogan, “Fuck you, I wonâ€™t do what you tell me!” capped one of the best shows of the 2016 summer season in this journalist’s opinion. If you werenâ€™t able to attend, you can download the new EP, The Partyâ€™s Over, and jump on the bus to bring back the rage.