Blu-ray Review: Rage Against The Machine - Live At Finsbury Park

Rage Against The Machine keeps their promise and delivers a potent, free set in London.
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Rage Against The Machine came on in the early 1990s like a musical sledgehammer. The band mixed heavy metal, punk, killer grooves and featured the fiery, socially conscious rapping and singing of Zack de la Rocha. They were a force, both musically and lyrically. After breaking up in 2000, the band reformed in 2007, going on occasional tours. In 2009, English DJ Jon Morter and his wife Tracy started a campaign in England to get a different group's single to become the all-important Christmas Number 1 as it had been dominated by X-Factor winners for several years at that point. The group they chose was Rage Against The Machine.

The band loved the idea and rereleased the single "Killing In The Name," donating the proceeds to charity and de la Rocha promised a free concert in England to celebrate the achievement. On June 6, 2010, the band performed a free concert in London's Finsbury Park. The show was filmed and makes up the new Blu-ray Rage Against The Machine - Live At Finsbury Park.

The show opens with the groove-heavy "Testify," from The Battle Of Los Angeles. Guitarist Tom Morello breaks out some of his signature strange guitar noises in this heavy track, at one point unplugging his guitar and "playing the plug" with a wah pedal. It's quirky tricks such as these that make him sound like no other guitarist. Zack de la Rocha's fierce vocal delivery has lost nothing to the passage of time as evident in this potent opener. "Bombtrack" follows and the song's heavy riffing makes the band seem like a more politically conscious Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. The massive crowd is active and singing along here and throughout the show.

For "Bulls On Parade," Morello offers a guitar intro that recalls Van Halen's "Cathedral" before slamming into the song's powerful main riff. As a nod to the group's rap influences, he gives a guitar solo that sounds like a DJ scratching a record. "Township Rebellion" shows a paranoid intensity, both in music and in its vocals while "People Of The Sun" finds the band launching into a heavy funk groove. Bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk make a formidable rhythm section and really don't get the credit they deserve in the shadow of their more famous band mates.

A high-energy cover of The Clash's "White Riot" finds de la Rocha, Commerford and Wilk sharing vocals. It's a nice nod to their punk influences, especially playing it in The Clash's home country. The group closes the show with the song that was the reason for the gig in the first place, "Killing In The Name." The ferocious track makes for a great closer to a great set.

The video is presented in 1080i High Definition 16x9 Widescreen and looks great, though sometimes the cuts are too quick between shots as seems to be the norm with modern concert videos. Audio options include DTS HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo. Bonus features include behind the scenes clips and an interview with Jon and Tracy Morter.

While Rage Against The Machine is seemingly no more, this show is a powerful reminder of how great a live band they were. It also shows a band happy to make good on their promise and a large crowd appreciative of the gesture. Highly recommended for fans of the band.