Rage Against the Machine Announce Show in Minneapolis During Republican National Convention

News Story Color Key:

Black = Me standing next to a tree

Blue = Me in my soapbox

Just days after playing a headlining show at Lollapalooza in Chicago, RATM have announced a show September 3 in Minneapolis. The band will play the local “venue” Target Center. Interested? Tickets will be available this Saturday morning. Don’t forget your riot gear!

As you may have heard by now, Rage’s set at Lollapalooza was like a pile of oily rags inches away from a lit match. Attendees near the front of the stage were being pulled out of the crowd in large numbers and required medical attention. Later in the set, police officers on horseback responded to a large crowd of citizens, non-attendees, who attempted to storm through a fence and make their way to the show. Throughout the violence, the band even stopped playing for several minutes on multiple occasions, making efforts to calm the more aggressive fans. Singer Zach de la Rocha pleaded with the multitude of listeners to step back, make room for everyone, and treat each other with respect. Following a second interruption of the music, in a truly disappointing and frustrating moment, de la Rocha’s appeals for calm were followed by the declaration of their next song: “This next one is called ‘Bullet In Your Head.’”

I laughed at first; the total opposite nature of the two moments seemed ridiculous. Then I realized that the irony was unintentional: did Rage really hope to put out a blaze by tossing in more wood? How can a band honestly expect peace when even their band name signifies action and protest? Can you really expect a throng of excited people, already annoyed with a day spent in the blazing sun, desperate for release, to mellow out to the hardcore sounds that Rage Against the Machine has to offer? Does anyone else see the utterly ludicrous nature and darkly humorous laughs that this situation has to offer? “Please calm down... Bullet In Your Head.”

That’s why this next date in Minneapolis has me worried. Rage Against The Machine's Target Center show coincides with this year's Republican National Convention, which will be held in St. Paul, a short highway drive away from where Rage will be performing. You’ll be able to taste the tension in the air; you may be able to cut it with a spoon. Now, I'm not suggesting that RATM are planning a violent demonstration. I know that this is just a single show, not a multiple-day festival with the antagonizing nature of heat, exhaustion, and long lines to irritate the crowd. However, with the potential for very high tensions due to the RNC invading the generally democratic Minneapolis, I fear the worst. The early days of September already look to be unstable, and a band like RATM, who seem intent on motivating their fans to action, only adds more unease.

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