The ‘Make America Rage Tour’ brings metal, rap, and revolution to Tampa

Prophets of Rage

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent

Venue: Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, Florida–October 1, 2016–Prophets of Rage, AWOLNATION, Wakrat, DJ Lord

The “Make America Rage Again” tour has been the talk of the town since it was announced in June. This supergroup, which is composed of members of Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, and Rage Against the Machine, is the perfect answer to this contentious political year—and exactly what the doctor ordered. Their EP The Party’s Over was released in the summertime with remakes of old classics as well as new music.

It seemed natural that these friends and political activists would team up for a musical activist cause.   The band often donates proceeds from the concerts to the homeless and definitely “walk the walk”.

I could not wait for the tour to come to Tampa, Florida and pondered what kind of reception the audience would give since this area is a mixed bag when it comes to politics and activism.   I just wondered if the audience would “get the message” and actually listen to the lyrics.

On Saturday, October 1st, the big “Rage Day” had arrived at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida. I arrived at the venue in the middle of the band Wakrat’s set and waited to see AWOLNATION. The venue appeared to be sparsely filled around 8 p.m., although it is very large and a smaller venue might have been more appropriate. When the band set foot on the stage, Aaron Bruno tried to get the audience dancing and moving with the band’s unique brand of music, which danceable and sometimes “poppy” with electronic/techno influences, but then segues into a definite hard rock or punk sound. They started the set with “Run” and “Run Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” which is from the Run album–and I was personally digging it. After breaking into a sweat, they were warmed up and in the zone, singing “Soul Wars” and “KOOKSEVERYWHERE!!!”.  Great job, guys!

By the time Prophets of Rage began, the large amphitheatre was filled with late-arriving concert goers. To get the crowd moving, DJ Lord played a groovin’ and movin’ compilation of tunes, including rock and metal classics—and even Bollywood inspired themes—with a punchy backbeat and turntable scratching. I was holding my camera and starting to bust-a-move, because the mix was so good–and the  Generation X crowd appeared to agree. I could see women hanging over the barricades, bouncing, and dancing to the beat. Everybody seemed to have a smile on his or her face while listening to this perfect warm-up selection.

Finally, The Prophets of Rage emerged on stage with electric magnetism and off-the-scale energy. I was mesmerized as Chuck D rapped and danced on the stage with B-Real donning a Guaybera, desert head garb, and dark shades. They both traded chants, singing an updated version of Public Enemy’s “Prophets of Rage”. I remember seeing Public Enemy during their break-out days in the late-1980s (and they were considered to be quite radical at the time).

Who cannot be fired up with these lyrics: Raise your fist up (fist up) / While I lift up (lift up) /Fucking everything wrong with the system (system) /People hungry and dyin’ /They ain’t got a home . The lyrics truly hits home in the Millennium with the plight of the homeless and numerous cases of police brutality and killings of African-American citizens by law enforcement.

Watching the band, I was mesmerized as Tom Morello leapt and posed with his guitar, which the photographers and audience lapped up. Brad Wilk pounded on the drums and was beautiful to watch. Tim Commerford slammed each bass string, moving around on the stage. The music was totally energizing and emotion permeated the air with each word and note. The bands raised their fists symbolizing “power to the people” and it felt like the revolution was in full force in Tampa. I definitely got “my rage on” after photographing and watching the band! I list the “Make America Rage Again Tour” as must-see, especially before the election. The tour ends on October 15th in Chula Vista, California.

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Prophets of Rage




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Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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