Prophets of Rage are something of a Frankenstein of an American rap-rock supergroup, a coalition of the foremost artists who have dominated the scene in recent decades: bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave; DJ Lord and rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy; and rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill.
Hitting Brixton Academy last night, one of the first gigs the one-year-old supergroup have performed on British soil after a critically-acclaimed debut at Download festival, the mix of stars brought a boundary-crossing blend of music styles with a wonderfully aggressive, high-octane set of old skool rap and funky rock.
There wasn’t a dry back in the house as an eclectic London crowd moshed out and pumped fists to a run down of tracks from the bands the members represent: DJ Lord providing an education in hip hop with nimble-fingered opening DJ set, followed by Public Enemy’s Prophets of Rage and later Fight the Power; Rage Against the Machine’s Testify, Take the Power Back and Guerilla Radio; the massive, moshpit-making mashup of Harder Than You Think, Dr Greenthumb, Can’t Truss It, Insane in the Brain, Bring the Noise, I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That, Welcome to the Terrordome and Jump Around.
Prophets of Rage also treated the unrelenting crowd to track Unfuck the World, their first new song since the release of their The Party’s Over EP last year, from forthcoming self-titled studio album Prophets of Rage, which they were keen to inform the crowd would be out in September.
Riotous and politically charged throughout, B-Real didn’t put too fine a point on the sentiment of the moment, introducing Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name with the statement: “Dangerous times call for dangerous songs and this is one the of most dangerous of them all.”
But it was guitarist Tom Morello who repeatedly stole the limelight with his mindblowing idiosyncratic playing style characterised by a statement use of feedback, unconventional picking and tapping, as well as the cheeky flash of a subtle handwritten note on the underside of his guitar “F**K TRUMP”.
And as tribute was made to the late Chris Cornell with a rendition of Audioslaves’ Like a Stone, performed with a spotlit empty mic centre stage, it was the sound of Morello’s guitar reverberating through the concave ceiling of the Academy, combined with vocals of the known-by-heart lyrics of the crowd, that made for a truly moving moment for every rock fan present.
As one slid out past sweaty T-shirts and even sweatier bare chests, it was all pumping adrenaline and wide grins after a full-throttle, 90s-nostalgia-infused gig. While some bemoaned the lack of Zack de la Rocha’s vocals in RATM contingent of the group, much of the talk was dedicated to Chris Cornell and the legend he left behind.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 14th June 2017.
For further information about Prophets of Rage and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Unfuck the World here: