Rage Against The Machine

“They didn’t see you coming at Christmas” Zach Da La Rocha screamed from the stage to an excitable and naturally angry crowd of 40,000 Rage fans. The lucky 40,000 in fact who had managed to secure tickets to a one-off thank you for Christmas number one jubilation at Finsbury Park. In short- Rage’s ‘Killing in the name’ comfortably outsold rivalling X Factor winner Joe Mcelderry for last year’s Christmas Number One and Zach and co thought it only right to reward the fans who probably bought the single they previously owned with a free festival-esque London gig.

Armed with Rage 1 Cowell 0 t-shirts, music-lovers swarmed the streets of Finsbury Park linking arms with numerous crates of alcoholic beverages, Lidl balloons and their chosen best buddy for the afternoon. The invasion was clearly unexpected by local food outlets however, Subway sold out of bread- ‘nuff said.

Tattoo drowned Gallows began the show, dedicating their closing tracks to Clash legend Joe Strummer and thanking Rage for putting them on the bill. Despite the support acts being ‘chosen’ by the Rage faithful, Gallows, Roots Manuva and Gogol Bordello were taken with a pinch of salt by most of the anticipatory audience and failed to soak up the rioting atmosphere. An atmosphere the exploded once an animated and oddly-Australian accented Simon Cowell began ‘mincing’ his way around the screens before introducing the ‘world’s greatest rock band’ Rage Against The Machine.
Accompanied by sirens, Rage burst into ‘Testify’ followed by ‘Bombtrack’ and aptly titled ‘Know Your Enemy’ to open the show. Thousands returned lyric by lyric to the red-shirted frontman, celebrating together the downfall of a 5 year reign for X Factor’s soon after unheard of winners.

But this gig wasn’t without its controversial and at times cheesy moments. Hundreds of ticketless fans found a wobbly gate J at the back of the venue (known only as the piss wall by inside spectators) and crushed stewards opposing entry to the Park; crashing into the venue in time to catch Tom Morello introduce “David to the X Factor Goliath” Facebook campaigners Jon and Tracy Morter. Donning Save 6Music T-shirts, the pair hugged the band and were presented with a novelty sized cheque for the homeless charity Shelter which recieved 100% of Rage’s royalties for the Xmas campaign. “Your anger is a gift!” Morello states, much to the pleasure of the entire audience.

Be it my positioning to the left of the stage or merely the fact this wasn’t the first time I had seen Rage (despite almost every gig being their ‘last’) the atmosphere may have failed to match that of Coachella, or Reading ’08. How will it fair at Download I wonder. For a first time viewer, I have no doubt Finsbury lived up to its expectations.

‘Bullet In Your Head’ and a rare, unexpected but much appreciated Clash cover ‘White Riot’ followed before a tired looking Zach and co ended the set on ‘Freedom’. An encore was no doubt expected (primarily given the reason so many had gathered was for a track they had yet to play) but instead with a snidey comical twist, ‘The Climb’ from X-Factor winner Joe belted out of the PA, followed by a series of newspaper articles suggesting Rage were never going to overturn what had become the festive season tradition number one.

"YOU MADE HISTORY" we’re told before Rage re-bless the stage and perform ‘Killing In The Name’ to the pleasure of everybody both the right and wrong side of the park fences. F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me Cowell was the intended message I think. Now, Christmas 2010...