With the momentous news that Rage Against The Machine are due to commence a reunion tour in 2020, we thought we’d take a look back to the band’s very beginning with his footage of their first-ever gig.
In this footage from 1991, the band, led by Zach de la Rocha and Tom Morello, perform at a free gig in the quadrant of California State University, Northridge. The band show the huge wealth of talent they possessed at such an embryonic stage of their career. It would be another year until the band’s first album would announce them onto the rap-metal scene.
Every band has to start somewhere and Rage Against The Machine started at this slightly innocuous venue, performing to not so many interested people, playing some of the songs which would go on to ignite a generation with the fire of musical empowerment.
Taking place on October 23, 1991, Tom Morello has since confirmed it was the band’s first-ever public performance and that the footage is legit. It features a host of the band’s now-iconic setlist in unpasteurised form. Including the heralded anti-establishment anthem, ‘Killing In The Name’, which arrives without any lyrics. Knowing the lyrics as the atomically charged “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me”, it’s a strange sight to see the band play on without them.
The band also have run out for the early sketches of RATM hits ‘Take The Power Back,’ ‘Bullet In The Head,’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’ to make this a rare piece of footage that everyone should catch up with before seeing the band in 2020.
The reason being that before you see an iconic band who are returning to a rapturous reception, that you should invest in their ropey beginnings. Playing the toilet circuit is often what can form a band’s intrinsic identity, the adversity they face, the connection with a crowd; it can all start at the very first gig.
Luckily for Rage Against The Machine fans visiting this 1991 footage of their debut performance for the very first time – Rage Against The Machine were better than 95% bands even then.