Tom Morello and his band mates brought massive sounds and down-to-earth attitudes to Fingerprints Music in Long Beach. Photos and video by Matt Cohn.
The politically passionate new band Prophets of Rage, currently on a 35-city tour which includes a stop at Ozzfest in San Bernardino on November 4, brought the noise to Long Beach Friday night at Fingerprints Music.
From the opening moments, with the apocalypse siren wailing and the band standing motionless, fists raised, it was obvious that this would be no scaled-back in-store appearance.
With a line-up of three Rage Against The Machine band mates, two members of Public Enemy (Chuck D and DJ Lord) and B Real from Cypress Hill, it’s tough to avoid the word “supergroup.”
Tom Morello aiming for social awareness alongside bandmates B Real and Chuck D.
The Rage contingent—Brad Wilk on drums, Tim Commerford on bass and Tom Morello on guitar—brought the massive groove cultivated over the last 26 years at such gigs as Woodstock ’99 and the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Frontman Chuck D offered up knuckle bumps throughout the show, and his colleague B Real provided verbal counterpoint with a tone not dissimilar to Chuck’s Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav.
Tom Morello was on fire, shifting effortlessly from power rhythm to scalding, angular leads to minimalist, jazzy parts. During an interplay with turntablist DJ Lord, the scratch effect he achieved was virtually indistinguishable from the DJ’s (see video below).
“We usually lean toward events that focus on emotional songs and songwriting, usually presented in a stripped down format, and rarely is ‘rage’ the emotion that’s so far forward,” said Fingerprints owner Rand Foster. “That they were heavy as hell, ridiculously fun, and weren’t afraid to turn it up probably didn’t hurt either.”
Fingerprints Music owner Rand Foster (top left) looking out at another outstanding in-store event.
The potent 12-song set included songs from the new Prophets of Rage album, which was released on September 15. “Hail To The Chief” is a scathing tribute to the Trump-Pence ticket, “Living On The 110” draws an unflinching picture of the plight of the homeless, and “Unf**k The World” is a blunt exhortation for blunt times.
Mid-show, B Real stepped up to deliver “Insane In The Membrane” and “Jump Around,” and Chuck D made the old and new hip-hop heads smile when he brought back “Bring The Noise.”
The high-powered show climaxed with two signature Rage jams, “Bulls On Parade” and “Killing In The Name Of.” Both truth-to-power anthems sounded fresh and right on time.
“We’re in a climate where politically charged music has a place in the discussion,” said Rand Foster.
Harvard grad Tom Morello, always the committed activist, has never been hesitant to be a part of that discussion.
“Dangerous times call for dangerous music,” he told the Fingerprints crowd.
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.