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Rage Against the Machine/Conor Oberst @ Palladium, 7/23/10

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"Tonight and every night we need to defend the rights of our brothers and sisters....Si Se Puede!," exclaimed Rage Against the Machine front man Zach De La Rocha as the band played the Hollywood Palladium on Friday July 23rd, their first Los Angeles show in nearly 10 years. Joined on the bill by Connor Oberst, they raised over $300,000 in support of Sound Strike, a coalition of artists protesting Arizona’s contentious SB1070 Immigration Bill. Never ones to shy from a political stance or protest, Rage Against the Machine proved on Friday night that nearly 10 years removed from their last album release their message is just as relevant now as it was at the height of their popularity.

Entering the venue admist menacing air raid sirens and the roar of the crowd, De La Rocha, Morello, Wilk and Commerfield took to the Palladium stage ready to unleash their musical fury both in dissent of the bill and in support of the affected workers and families. The 14 song set seethed with power and energy and it was apparent from the signature Tom Morello guitar intro of “Testify” there would be no let up. Jumping and pouncing from side to side, De La Rocha was in complete command, his energy and passion emanating from his voice, whipping the venue into a frenzy, one that while incredibly electric never reached violent or unsafe levels. Given the setting and occasion of the night's performance, the already potent and pointed lyrics carried an even stronger punch. Having played only a handfull of shows in the past few years, the band was as tight as ever with no loss of step or rhythm. From De La Rocha’s masterful lyricism and delivery to Morello’s otherworldly guitar work, on this night RATM transcended being just a band, but rather a force.