When the Prophets of Rage took the stage last Wednesday at the Rapids Theater in Niagara Falls NY, you knew you were in for something special. This newly formed band has Chuck D and DJ Lord from Public Enemy with B-Real from Cypress Hill as frontmen backed by the musicians of Rage Against the Machine (bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk). A Supergroup of talent from popular bands has been done before. None has taken off like this one. Formed just a few months ago as a response to the current political climate, the band has adopted a semi-familiar slogan “Make America Rage Again.” Their website proclaims: “We can no longer stand on the sidelines of history. Dangerous times demand dangerous songs. It’s time to take the power back.”
The power opening the show was a set by DJ Lord that was nothing short of spectacular. Running through songs from Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Biz Markie, Aerosmith/Run DMC, Metallica, Nirvana, and many others. Lord’s mixing was right on point, building momentum until the other members of the band took the stage to the namesake tune “Prophets of Rage” from Public Enemy’s 1988 “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” The sound can only be described as furious. The crowd reaction was what you would expect, crazy jumping, shouting, and dancing and generally having fun. A minimum of crowd surfing and moshing took place as security had watchful eyes. It seemed a little bit too much security was present, with guards lining the front of the stage and sidelines. This crowd wanted to rock but restraint and their safety was the order of the day.
The show pounded on with this all star lineup. Hits from all three groups made up the setlist. The age range of fans was from teens to many in their 50’s and up. Many had their favorites as different parts of the crowd responded to each groups songs. Highlights were many. “Take the Power Back” featured a blazing Tom Morello solo. A mid-show hip hop medley featuring “Insane in the Brain” and “Jump Around” (House of Pain cover) brought the crowd to a frenzy. “Shut Em Down” (Public Enemy cover) took an already crazy crowd to another level, with fists punching the air in salute. The closing “Killing in the Name” (Rage Against the Machine cover) was a pounding, ground shaking, and very loud message that said this band is for real.
The mix of these three bands works, both in their music and message. This being an election year, they are telling us to choose carefully. Their attitude and direction are clear: Wake up America! Yeah, it’s been said before, but not with this much rage.
DJ Lord Intro
Prophets of Rage (Public Enemy cover)
Guerrilla Radio (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Bombtrack (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Miuzi Weighs a Ton (Public Enemy cover)
People of the Sun (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Take the Power Back (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Cochise / She Watch Channel Zero?! (Public Enemy song sung over Cochise Instrumentals)
Testify (Rage Against the Machine cover)
(Rock) Superstar (Cypress Hill cover)
Hand on the Pump (Cypress Hill cover) / Can’t Truss It (Public Enemy cover)/ Insane in the Brain (Cypress Hill cover)/ Bring the Noise (Public Enemy cover)/I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That (Cypress Hill cover)/ Welcome to the Terrordome (Public Enemy cover)/ Jump Around (Cypress Hill cover)
Sleep Now in the Fire (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Bullet in the Head (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Shut ‘Em Down (Public Enemy cover)
No Sleep Till Brooklyn / Fight the Power
Know Your Enemy (Rage Against the Machine cover)
The Party’s Over
Bulls on Parade (Rage Against the Machine cover)
Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine cover)
We would like to thank Alizee Serena and Kristin Foster of PMKBNC for the credentials to review the show.