Download Review: Rage Against The Machine, HIM
Maybe it’s that we’ve come from re-falling in love with the Deftones, that HIM seem so underwhelming on stage two. Since giving up drinking (and so we hear smoking as well) it has become clear why the Finnish rock icon drank: on stage Ville seems cripplingly shy and not really to be enjoying himself. While absolute bangers such as their cover of ‘Wicked Game’ seem not to leap from the PA as they once did. Other set choices seem strange for their pace, leaving the crowd to drink in the leaden grooves of slower HIM than the balls out ragers that exist in their catalogue. That said the band do pick up towards the end and a second cover, this time of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’ get the tepid crowd going.
Recent shows have seen Ville’s voice return to form having been almost absent from shows three years ago at the height (or depths) of his drinking. The once karaoke-like gigs now see back in full voice – that vein in his neck throbbing with exertion.
You would think that when addressing an amassed 40-odd thousand people that you would choose your words wisely, or at least opt for the hard rock claptrap of ‘how are you doing Donington?’ or ‘make some fucking noise!’ but Ville’s banter is inaudible or at least incomprehensible as he mumbles to his band. Whether it’s tech issues or some other issue, this seems to be a less impressive show than HIM have proven they can do of late.
Rage Against The Machine
Two years ago at Reading Festival Rage Against The Machine’s lacklustre performance suggested the death knell for a band who had once meant so much and be so great. Only seven days ago they returned to the UK for a celebratory (and thank you very much) show in Finsbury Park for 40,000 lucky acquirers of free tickets (or ‘Fin’s Berry’, as De La Rocha says). The show – as you may have already heard – was simply unbeatable. Rage are a band back to form, back on top, and back at the top of the bill.
Now with 90,000-odd fans stretched out in front of them – having taken the stage 20 minutes late – the Californian protest metallers, head straight into their set with classics such as ‘Bullet In Your Head’. The band’s energy feels nuclear as Zack De La Rocha spins, reels and weaves about the stage like some interpretative dance performance of Guernica. It is ironic that on the mic the anti-authoritarian icon commands the crowd like a political liberator – when he says jump, we say how high?
There is a moment when the band have to stop the song as people in the front are apparently getting caught in the mosh. And while the ‘look after one another’ speech feels a little too appropriate for this band, its sentiment is warming from here the set really takes flight. The involuntary Mexican wave of the thousands of people is impressive to watch and each new amazing riff drives a track that invites more and more of the crowd to join in.
The band also hammer their cover of the Clash’s ‘White Riot’ although Zack starts the vocals a bar early – he grins self-effacingly and they bound through the punk classic.
The sound is amazing and Tom Morello’s innovative guitar style sounds crisp and clear: the scratching of strings, the octave pedal and the clicking in and out of distorted dischords with the pick-up selector switch.
Finishing with ‘Killing In The Name’ is a no-brainer as few songs sum up heavy metal like this twenty year old anthem. But more than that it is a true triumph for a band who we deemed on the wane to come and headline Donington and have everyone from those on the rail to the bloke in the ice cream van going completely mental. Rage Against The Machine are one of the biggest, best and most important heavy metal bands ever. Fists in the air!