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Volume 2, Issue 1                            University of Houston

Rage Against the Machine rallies for freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Jesse Lauritz
Staff Writer

Protesting and petitioning are means by which people express their thoughts and opinions.

Monday at Compaq Center, three bands performed for a cause they believed in. Anti-Flag, Gang Starr and Rage Against the Machine's tour has been under scrutiny and disapproval from the police across the nation.

The show has gone on, despite claims that the tour promotes cop killing.

The Pittsburgh band Anti-Flag kicked it off with exciting and energetic punk music. All of the songs were fast and energetic with screaming vocals.

The lyrics have a distinct political edge to them. Though they may make the band sound anti-American, that isn't the case. However, Anti-Flag is anti-government, anti-police brutality, anti-war and pro-gay.

Gang Starr followed with a set of ear-pleasing hip-hop. Guru and DJ Premier have been working together since 1989, and Gang Starr is classified as one of hip-hop's most respected groups.

It played to the crowd with the hits "Mass Appeal," "You Know My Steez" and "The Militia."

As the hard beats and old-school rhymes spilled into the crowd, Gang Starr left the message that hip-hop has broken all boundaries.

Although Anti-Flag and Gang Starr gave the crowd a preview of what was to come, Rage Against the Machine gave the crowd its wake-up call.

The Los Angeles-based band mixed hard rock, rap and funk to create a sound no one else can master.

Zach De La Rocha and crew opened with "Testify." As they did, the curtain dropped to reveal another curtain with the words "Battle of Houston" over a reproduction of the cover of their latest CD.

They quickly followed that with their new hit "Guerilla Radio." The rap style mixed over Tom Morello's crunch guitar and Tim Bob's driving bassline made for one great sound.

Rage had a captivating effect on the audience. It was amazing to see the crowd in the near-sellout venue jumping up and down in sync to each and every song.

Rage also played favorites "People of the Sun" and "Bulls On Parade" from Evil Empire.

The band performed "Bullet in the Head" and "Killing in the Name" from its self-titled CD as well as "Freedom," which De La Rocha dedicated to Mumia Abu-Jamal and all other political prisoners.

Abu-Jamal is sitting on death row and Rage has been actively trying to free him, claiming that he has been wrongly convicted and that the government is trying to silence another black activist and journalist.

They also answered the question of whether their music supports cop killers with the remark that they despise all killers, including cop killers.

Rage played quite a few tracks off The Battle of Los Angeles including "Maria" and "Sleep Now in the Fire."

Surprisingly, De La Rocha had more energy than the crowd, who turned the whole floor into a giant mosh pit, with the audience standing.

It was not hard to move your body to the music. In fact, the people coming out of the pit seemed dazed, not knowing what had happened to them.

Rage Against the Machine is fighting for what they believe. Everyone in attendance is included in that battle as everyone has his or her own separate voice.

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