Dangerous Times: Prophets Bring the Revolution in Atlanta
By John M. Blood
On a warm autumn night under a shining crescent moon in Atlanta, Georgia, music fans young and old came together united in rage. A common bond they shared was an anger that went beyond the current presidential election, to the very core of the issues facing our world today. War. Bigotry. Hatred. Corruption. As many fans stated they are mad about everything. The Prophets of Rage Make America Rage Tour was just the outlet they needed to express that. Dan Tooine of Long Island, New York was at his fifth Prophets of Rage show and stated that he “Needed this for an outlet” and that the problems we face “go beyond the clowns”. He believed that there was hope and that the Prophets will help get people taking action.
The first act of the night was Wakrat; a refreshingly authentic blend of heavy guitar, vocals and gritty, crunchy beats. The trio combines the veteran musical talent of Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford on bass as well as the fresh talent of Mathias Wakrat, and Laurent Grangeon brought the influences of early 90’s grunge and punk and added contemporary and obviously personal themes. With songs like “Generation Fucked” and “Knucklehead”, the raw anger was apparent. Despite playing to a mostly empty venue, Wakrat brought high energy and surely found many new fans. This was an absolutely perfect opener to the show. At the end of the set, the band chanted “What are you looking at? You don’t give a fuck about me!”. If Wakrat keeps playing like they did in Atlanta, people will absolutely give a fuck. Wakrat’s self-titled debut album drops on November 11th.
The second act of the evening was alternative rock sensation AWOLNATION. In brilliantly dramatic fashion, a figure emerged onto the darkened stage saturated in purple, shrouded in a cloak wearing a helmet and carrying a lantern (Imagery that should be familiar to their fans as being from the video for the “Beautiful Things” version of their song “Run”). AWOLNATION’s unique and slightly more subdued sound may have initially had a hard time resonating with the audience. The band prompted the audience to light their lighters and cellphones to the sounds of a choir background, the reaction was less than enthusiastic with many lighters falling away quickly. It was obvious the band was playing with all their might when they unleashed a thunderous drum solo unifying their hearts behind a more hopeful promising future. Whatever low energy the crowd had was replaced by cheers, and applause as the band struck the familiar opening riff of their platinum hit “Sail” to close out their set.
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As the main event of the evening drew near an air of anticipation grew within the crowd. What had begun as a small crowd had swollen to a massive turnout from the pit to the lawn. Red hats stating “Make America Rage Again”, an obvious jab at Donald Trump, dotted the crowd. Longtime fans of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill filled the front row. The set began with the National Anthem played by DJ Lord along with masterfully remixed versions of such classics as “War” by Edwin Starr, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, and “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. At long-last, the Prophets of Rage took the stage silhouetted against bright white lights with raised fists of solidarity. While the Prophets’ new EP might be titled “The Party’s Over”, the party was just beginning in Atlanta as fans were fully engaged with the band’s original anthems as well as many covers of the super group’s constituent parts. The audience was on their feet throughout the entire set singing cries of “take the power back” and “no more lies!” filled the air. Revolutionary and aggressive iconography filled the stage, Tom Morello stood front and center aiming his guitar like a machine gun into the crowd, and rappers Chuck D and B-Real hammered away at the establishment under a clenched fist backdrop. The band often played with the crowd. At one point the vocalists took turns crowd surfing on a sea of hands as well as posing for selfies mid-song with fans.
The Prophets of Rage have stated that dangerous times call for dangerous songs. While they certainly delivered the danger with their hyper aggressive lyrics, the point of the rage was apparent to all. This was not rage for hate, this was a rage out of concern for our common future. A rage for peace. Will they be effective in their message? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, The Prophets of Rage made a positive impact in Atlanta.