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Tom Morello, Boots Riley @ El Rey, 12/9

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My first thought when Boots Riley took the stage was, "Holy crap! Shaft has gone on tour with Kurt Cobain." Sporting an Afro, leather overcoat with a fur collar, and some impressive sideburns, he took the stage at the El Rey accompanied by a young man with long blond hair, a green winter jacket, and who frankly looked quiet stoned. If you look at the photo gallery below, you'll see that first impression was warranted.

Boots performed an acoustic set rapping with only a guitar as the rhythm section. The young man, who Tom Morello introduced later as Carl "The Wizard," provided a stark backdrop for Boots' songs, which amplified the meaning of his words. It was perfect. Each member of the audience could clearly hear every line Boots sang about political injustice, intolerance, and social activism.