DVD Review: Rage Against The Machine – Live at Finsbury Park

DVD Review: Rage Against The Machine – Live at Finsbury Park
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: A

Rage Against The Machine -
Live at Finsbury Park 2015
Every so often, good does triumph over evil. "Live at Finsbury Park" is a reminder that occasionally the underdog wins, if it's on the side of the angels. Of course, it helps having a force of nature like Rage Against The Machine driving the grassroots campaign behind it.

For those not familiar with the story, a short history lesson. The presumptive Christmas No. 1 hit in 2009 on the U.K. singles chart was bound to be whatever corporate, lightweight pop drivel Simon Cowell's "X Factor" winner had excreted. Then, along came Jon and Tracy Morter.

Tired of seeing Cowell's patronage result in yet another undeserving holiday season score for his formulaic, pandering hit machine, the English DJ and his wife crafted this modest proposal: How about giving Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name"  a chance at No. 1? Their indomitable promotional campaign led to a chart upset that wiped that smirk right off Cowell's smug face. The people had spoken. "Killing In The Name" set records for downloading and claimed that top spot on Christmas despite Cowell's prediction that such a travesty would never occur.

And so, in keeping with a promise RATM vocalist Zach de la Rosa made, Rage played a celebratory free concert in the U.K. to express their gratitude and encourage more rebellion against the forces of commerce and tyranny in general. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and in digital formats via Eagle Rock Entertainment, "Live in Finsbury Park" documents in spectacular fashion that blistering performance with some of the most dynamic and exciting cinematography ever choreographed in a concert DVD. Colorful, clear imagery of the band in full throat, leaping about the stage with reckless abandon and wild-eyed energy and laying down infectious, thick grooves for a massive, writhing throng of people, not only flows together logically, but also effortlessly frames the incendiary action from a variety of angles.

A modern-day MC5, with a passionate rapper/singer in de la Rosa spouting socially conscious lyrics through an incendiary delivery, Rage Against The Machine is riveting onstage, hardly taking a breath as they ferociously attack favorites such as "Bombtrack," "Guerilla Radio," "People of the Sun" and "Bullet in the Head" and stomp all over "Bulls on Parade." The tense build-up of opener "Testify" lays the groundwork for the series of explosions that take place over a concise set that includes a furious cover of The Clash's "White Riot," all of it leading up to the grand finale, an overpowering version of "Killing In The Name" that burns the place to the ground.

From the skittering guitar scratchings and other innovative machinations of Tom Morello to the intense bashing of drummer Brad Wilk and the strong currents of menacing, insurgent bass lines of Tim Commerford, Rage is on fire, basking in the moment and exhorting the multitudes not to give up the fight, even as they themselves splinter off in different directions. A short behind-the-scenes featurette, coupled with an interview with the Morters and a booklet full of rich concert photography round out a package of historical importance. Unfortunately, it's also a tease for those who wish Rage was more active and doing this sort of thing all the time.
– Peter Lindblad

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