Rage Against the Machine at Denver Coliseum, with Flobots, the Coup, State Radio, 8/27/08

Categories: Concert Reviews

Chad Fahnestock
Tent State University Music Festival to End the War at the Denver Coliseum featuring Rage Against the Machine with Wayne Kramer of the MC5 and Flobots, the Coup and State Radio.


Live blog: 11:10 a.m. Wednesday, August 27, 2008: It's just after 11 a.m., and things are just getting underway at the Denver Coliseum. State Radio just took the stage and is in the midst of playing an energetic set in front of a half-filled arena. Folks are steadily filing in, while members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War -- some in all black T-shirts emblazoned with their name and some in full military regalia -- are milling about backstage and gathering in clusters to organize themselves for the planned post-show march. The general vibe thus far is mellow. The overall feeling at this point among folks is mostly one of shared excitement to see Rage, with an slight, underlying sense of anxiety, wondering what, exactly, is going to happen later on in the day when the post-show march takes place.

Chad Fahnestock
Chad Urmston of State Radio

Between songs, State Radio's frontman, Chad Urmston, briefly engaged the crowd. "I think we all realize that this is the real deal," he said. "Not what's going on down at the Pepsi Center. If we hold Obama to a high standard, we can hopefully turn this country around... It's a dream for us to share the stage with Rage."

Chad Fahnestock
Boots Riley of the Coup

12:25 p.m., the Coup: Like trumpets aimed at the walls of Jericho, the Coup is in the midst of a fiery set, performing with a defined and focused intensity and urgency, as if it is single-handedly trying to end the war itself. "After we leave here, we're going to march to show the Democratic party that they don't have a strict enough line on ending the war," said an impassioned Boots Riley. "What they're talking about doing is going to take years -- and people are dying!" Although the band settled into a more light hearted groove by the third song, the act is serving as an extremely fitting precursor to Flobots and ultimately Rage Against the Machine. The energy in the arena, which is now edging closer and closer to capacity, is steadily building.

Chad Fahnestock
Despite all this Rage, we're still behind this barricade.

12:40 p.m., the Flobots: Jamie Laurie and company are on stage right now. The most stirring part of the act's set isn't how well the outfit is performing (they're furiously on point), rather the rapt attention of the audience it has commanded. At a typical Flobots show, there's smiles and a tangible sense of exhuberance, with people mouthing the words, nodding their heads and dancing along.

Chad Fahnestock
If there's a war going on for your mind, Flobots are winning.

Here this afternoon, countless members of the audience are wearing stoic expressions, completely riveted. Just before launching into "I.R.A.Q.," Laurie, clad in a T-shirt bearing the Iraq Veterans Against the War insignia, he noted how proud he is to be on hand in support of the organization. "Everywhere we go across the country, we run into servicemen who tell us how much they love what we're doing. They tell us they love our music, but even more, they believe in the message. The message is out there: Invading Iraq wasn't our idea. They are listening, and things are changing." At the end of "There's a War Going On for Your Mind," Laurie asserts that "We are the insurgents!" Indeed. Up next: Rage Against the Machine

Chad Fahnestock
Stephen Brackett (aka Brer Rabbit) of Flobots.

Chad Fahnestock
Jamie Laurie (aka Jonny 5) of Flobots.

Chad Fahnestock
Ladies and gentlemen, Flobots.

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