Rage Against The Machine. Public Enemy. Cypress Hill. It would be difficult to assemble a more impressive array of hard hitting talent from the realms of heavy rock and hip hop than from the combined talents of several key members of the aforementioned musical behemoths. And that is exactly what we’re treated to when rock-rap super group Prophets Of Rage make their highly anticipated Brisbane debut in front of a frothing Monday night crowd, who have boisterously peaked for tonight’s sold out performance.
Galvanised by a mission to rock the hell out while delivering truth bombs from the front line of these troubled times, the band step out to a deafening roar. Bassist Tim Commerford, drummer Brad Wilk and guitarist Tom Morello thump and swing as the original deliverers of Rage Against The Machine’s rock-rap crunch. Meanwhile from the hip hop side of town, Cypress Hill maestro B-Real (resplendent in Arab head garb), and Public Enemy’s righteously wicked Chuck D handle the bulk of tonight’s vocal performances. And Public Enemy’s DJ Lord, who puts in a spellbinding turntable mash-up in the lead up, brings a sprinkling of old school scratching and beat-meistering to round out the star studded line up.
The Prophets belt it out of the park early with their opening salvo. Lead off number ‘Prophets Of Rage’, the Public Enemy track from which the band took their utterly appropriate moniker, sets the bar high from the get-go. From there we’re treated to the first of several set blocks featuring RATM numbers back to back, as ‘Testify’, ‘Take The Power Back’ and ‘Guerilla Radio’ get the masses pumped up and galvanized.
Judiciously sprinkled throughout the ‘greatest hits’ set list are ample demonstrations of the power and timelessness of the Prophets’ own original material, with numbers such as the ‘Hail To The Chief’, ‘Legalize Me’ and ‘Unfuck The World’ slotting in seamlessly and proving that these seasoned players still have plenty to offer in the way of hard hitting jams with a message.
For the hip hop minded punters, a delirious mash-up of Public Enemy and Cypress Hill numbers is just the tonic, as we’re treated to blow by blow renditions of stone cold genre classics ‘Insane In The Brain’, ‘Bring The Noise’, ‘I Aint Goin’ Out Like That’ and ‘Welcome To The Terrordome.’
A touching moment comes when the band dedicate a cover of Audioslave’s ‘Like A Stone’ to their much loved and sadly departed friend Chris Cornell, the crowd singing along with reverential gusto.
Throughout the evening we’re given ample reminder of the prodigious and utterly unique talents of live-wire guitarist Tom Morello, as he coaxes, cajoles and hammers out his utterly unique six string frequencies, beaming out sparks and shivers in equal measure.
Things reach a fever pitch crescendo in the run home, as a brace of heavy hitting RATM numbers are detonated, ‘Know Your Enemy’, ‘Bullet In The Head’ and ‘Bulls On Parade’ taking an already delirious crowd into even higher states of ecstasy. It reaches it’s apex during penultimate number ‘Killing In The Name’, the sweaty throng jumping and hollering with glee as the band belt out ‘that’ refrain. To prove their mettle as modern day provocateurs, the band tweak a line to reference the present day malaise.. “Some of those that hold office are the same that burn crosses.”
Such a rabidly rapturous response cajoles the band onto ever greater heights, treating us to one more number by dusting off the rarely played ‘Bomb Track’ in acknowledgement of the energy coming back at them throughout their set.
A reverential and triumphant celebration of legacies and past glories, Prophets Of Rage also amply demonstrate that there’s still plenty of fire in the collective belly to auger well for ongoing future triumphs. An a-class masterclass..