Rage Against the Machine – the rap metal music and political giants of the 90’s – have a reputation of putting on a killer live performance. Their fiercely blunt, persuasive lyrics and rib-rattling vocals is something many hard rock fans would want to experience in the flesh. And many have. But with no plans for Rage Against the Machine to release new music let alone tour again, a huge number of Rage enthusiasts won’t ever have the chance to mosh out to them.
It’s one of the reasons why I believe The Newport Record Club does so damn good. Giving music lovers access to their favourite bands and records by quality local superstars in the finest of formats. And a lot of the bands are ones we haven’t had the pleasure of seeing live too, or may never be able to again.
Last Thursday night at Record Club was one of those nights. For the final show of season 4, Record Club punters were treated to one powerfully explosive performance. Paying tribute to Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled album, Perth rockers’ Rubble of Empire joined together specifically to blow your fuckin’ socks off. And they did one heck of a job!
Rubble of Empire – Laura G (who’s band Purrvert supported Karnivool, Downsyde and Spiderbait), Karl Hiller (The Witches), Scott Howard (The Panda Band) and Giles Lowe (Bat Country) – had the audience convinced immediately. Like with the Michael Jackson night a few shows back though, I must admit I was a little skeptical of a female singer paying tribute to such a gutsy band. But Laura G changed that perception in seconds.
Dropping the bomb with RATM’s Bombtrack, Rubble of Empire were fiery and uncontrollable from the get-go. Laura G’s vocals were tense and charged, and a perfect fit for a Rage tribute gig. To be honest, you didn’t expect to hear the extent of that sound coming out of her but once you did – you knew this band was going to blow every corner of your mind.
The second song off the record, Killing in the Name, sent the room into a rock-infused frenzy. It’s one of those extreme powerhouse tracks that Rage are so renowned for and watching it being performed live, even though it wasn’t RATM themselves, rocked your whole freakin’ world. It was that good, you half expected them to play it for the encore slot too. Killing in the Name was inevitable thunderous with each genius bass line and guitar ‘wahs’ nailed perfectly. And there was something very powerful about an entire room of fans joining in with the bellowing ‘fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me‘.
The four gelled insanely well together, bouncing back and forth off each other’s energy and the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd as fans moshed their way to the front. You just wanted to get closer to the action. Rage fans were positively buzzing, amped for an all-night mosh session (which unfortunately didn’t include any crowd surfing). Head bangers were out in fine form, dreads were flying and every person had a ridiculously massive grin on the their faces. People were just loosing their shit the entire time – and it was rap-rock magic.
If that hadn’t woken you up from the Thursday work day, then Take the Power Back and Bullet in the Head definitely did. Just as explosive as the first few tracks off the album, Rubble of Empire continued to keep the pace up with raging drum beats, seductively thick bass lines and high-pitched guitar screams that penetrated your soul. Know Your Enemy and Fistful of Steal were just as electrifying, with Laura G delivering each lyrical line just as punchy as the next. Her vocals were epically raw, deep and scarily close to that of Zack De La Rocha…dare I say it.
The record was wrapped up with Township Rebellion and Freedom – and a lot of swearing and more ‘fuck yous’ than you’ve ever heard before. The radical fusion of metal, rap and sci-fi guitar crescendos was energising – and there was still more to come. The band took a well-deserved breather as co host Steve Parkin gave Record Club enthusiasts a taste of what’s to come for season 5 (which starts Thursday April 14th) – think Guns N’ Roses, Arctic Monkeys, David Bowie, Silverchair, Queens of the Stone Age, Pink Floyd, James Brown, The Doors and so much more music goodness! It’s going to be loose…
As Steve got the crowd revved up again for some more Rage action, Rubble of Empire bounced back on stage to fire up a hot-list of encores including Bulls on Parade, Born of a Broken Man and Mic Fiend before they finished off with Renegades of Funk. Oozing a high level of brilliance and power that left you feeling 100% energised, the audience were in a fit of screams by the finale.
Their performance showed the true intensity of RATM with an album that would’ve be ridiculously hard to cover, but Rubble of Empire took to it with such ease, passion and a shit load of talent. RATM are a sledgehammer of a band and these guys didn’t just live up to it – they blew it through the fuckin’ roof. What a way to end season 4 off!
Special thanks to Erin Macliver for the use of her images.