• The Rage Factor

    7 juin 2010, 22h38m

    Sun 6 Jun – Rage Against the Machine, Gogol Bordello, Roots Manuva, Gallows, South Central, L'Amour La Morgue

    Finsbury Park - 6th June 2010

    So we (Me and my friend Adam) arrived at London Euston at about 2, struggled to find out how to get to Finsbury, but with help from a friend, made it there for about 3pm. After a few minutes of following the crowd we got into the park gates without any fuss, used the facilities and grabbed some beers and headed over to the stage area.

    Beer, sunshine and crowds are fun, and so the next couple of hours passed quickly and without much drama, a small crowd standing for a mediocre set by new scene DJ act “South Central” and a slightly better set by masked duo “L’Amour La Morgue” which neatly passed the time until 5.20 as the first band came to stage.


    A band I’ve never really had much time for in all honesty. Surprisingly however, I really enjoyed them. I couldn’t possibly say I knew any songs or was overly impressed by the music, but Frank (angry ginger frontman) had a great attitude towards the gig and the crowd, joking and having fun. Twice he made mention of the fact that Justin Bieber was playing Wembley Arena not far away and when requesting a wall of death told anyone who didn’t know what one was to “F*** off and go see Bieber” which was followed by an almighty 30,000 strong boo (with a reply of “I think Bieber just s**t himself”). Joking now aside Gallows front man then took a moment to pay respects to the rock legends who have sadly passed away, a chant of “Dio” and speech over, a specific mention of the late Clash singer/rhythm guitarist Joe Strummer to introduce their cover of “I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)”. So with only minor technical difficulties the gig was off to a flying start.

    After another break, some more DJing from ‘L.A.L.M’ and plenty more beer we reached the second support with not too much fuss. 6.30.

    Roots Manuva

    I’ll be honest, I’d only listened to about 3 songs prior to this and the sound quality wasn’t too great so I can’t make too much comment about his music or lyrics. The slightly odd looking musicians looked confused but still due to some good crowd members nearby we had a good laugh, a dance and even a sing-a-long at one point. The seemingly silent “Roots” was an interesting, if not unanticipated, twist to the otherwise rock based music.

    Now I wanted to focus on the bands and not the DJ sets between but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t one of my highlights. So Roots went off and our old pals South Central came back on, laptops in hand. You may note by the tone of this that this time they were not merely background noise. People had drank, they were stood up, they were paying more attention than the first time round. South Central were no worse than the first time but this time people noticed they weren’t suited for the gig. The final straw however came when the duo played a remix of the grunge anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, a song not to be tampered with. The sound of drum loops and synth behind this song seeming stirred the rebellion that lies within all Rage fans and soon enough SC were being booed and cups, bottles and chips were flying. All the while, Gogol Bodello were setting up alongside and seemed to have the same attitude as the crowd as they paused with stunned looks at the use of Cobain’s legendary song. Directly hit twice and under increasing projectile aim the duo made the move for their safety by speeding up the finish and storming off, fingers flying and to the sound of victorious cheers from the spirited crowd. Five minutes later, Gogol appeared on stage and were welcomed warmly at 7.35.

    Gogol Bordello

    The sun now descending and evening setting in, the timing of the gypsy punk band couldn’t have been better. Though it seemed not too many of the crowd were familiar with the works of the band, they were welcomed with open arms and large mosh pits. The alternative band took to the stage and were instantly at home, commanding the stage and the crowd effortlessly. The crowd changed from being at a concert and seemed now more to be at a party, just as RATM had advertised. The mixture of dancing, mosh pits, jumping and singing was all leading up to the climactic single “Start Wearing Purple”, a personal highlight, the light hearted, active and very much alternative band ended their set in style, throwing a bass drum into the crowd, the percussionist and hype man Pedro Erazo following it out and climbing on top ready for the dramatic last chorus of the song. The band, renowned for their persistent touring and dramatic performances, really lived up to their hype.

    Another (slightly better received) DJ set and about 35 minutes later it was 8.50, and time for Rage Against The Machine.

    Rage Against The Machine

    8.50: Nothing, sun nearly set, crowd waiting.

    9.00: Nothing, darkness creeping in, anticipation reaching new levels.

    9.05: Music stops, screens on, roars from the crowd as an animated video of Simon Cowell appears on the screen amidst piles of useless money, a video in which Cowell shows his anger, disappointment and disgust for the band before introducing them as “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band Ever”. Crowd goes ballistic.

    The god-like figures of the band appear on stage and after a brief “Good evening Finsbury” they dive straight in to Testify, a seemingly perfect opening to what was to be a perfect concert. The crowd scream in praise and admiration “We found your weakness, and its right outside your door, now TESTIFY!” With De La Rocha jumping around the stage and Morello doing a solo using on the static and feedback on his bare skin on the guitar lead the concert got off to an energetic start mixed with celebration. Leaving no time for gaps in between Rage then went straight into the early hit Bombtrack, still a fan favourite and then onto People of the Sun.

    After a few more songs, a tired out but enthusiastic crowd were mercifully given a breathing gap as Zach De La Rocha took to the microphone to talk about the situation in Gaza and urged people to support the protests to take down the blockades and condemn this Israeli actions. Refreshed after even a 60 second break the crowd got straight back into the action of mosh pits and fist pumping as the bass pounded out to Township Rebellion, dedicated to the protesters. The set continued as people jumped, crowd surfed and all out partied before bringing out the couple who started the whole Facebook Campaign. After thanking them and handing over a large cheque (£162,000) for the charity ‘Shelter’ the band introduced a tribute to the punk scene that started out in the UK, sighting bands such as the Sex Pistols, The Who and The Clash, covering the Clash’s dissent filled White Riot. As the sun set Morello’s guitar shouted out more classic tracks with a personal favourite being Sleep Now In The Fire.

    After the final notes of Freedom died out the band left the stage and the screens went off. But soon the encore chants were in full swing and soft music came on, unfamiliar to the crowd. The screens turned on displaying messages and quotes from newspapers, Simon Cowell and then the song made sense as the quote from Joe McElderry appeared on screen:

    “They can’t be serious!” he said. “I had no idea what it sounded like. It’s dreadful and I hate it. How could anyone enjoy this? Can you imagine the grandmas hearing this over Christmas lunch?”

    The song in the background was infact McElderry’s Christmas single “The Climb”, promptly booed as the LA Rockers bounced back on stage with renewed vigour to play the heroic #1 single “Killing in the Name of”. The band bowed and took their leave as the crowd roared in delight at the magnificence they had witnessed.

    The next problem was the getting home, 40,000 people, about 10,000 wanting to get the tube from 1 station. To stop riots and crushing the police arrived on horseback to manage the situation. Which they did with minimal disruption as people floated by atop double decker buses which had been scaled as they were stuck dead in the sea of people leaving.

    A true victory party, and a priceless night. RATM delivered on their promise.