Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Rage Against the Machine 

Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium (Epic)

Before Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk became Chris Cornell's backing band and started writing above-average radio rock, they were three-quarters of Rage Against the Machine, the only rap-rock band that mattered. Skilled and informed, Rage frontman Zack De La Rocha spat political vitriol over the most violent funk in the history of rock, a two-kiloton bounce made by live instruments played nontraditionally until they shrieked the kind of noises usually only generated by dexterous DJs.

Rage's interpersonal chemistry was famously volatile throughout the recording of the band's first two LPs -- rap-rock masterpieces unrivaled by any of the cracker-barrel rap they inspired. That tension was absent during The Battle of Los Angeles, an insipid record that spawned two radio hits. The goodwill dissolved during the ensuing arena tour. At each other's throats but faced with contractual obligations, the disintegrating group recorded Renegades, a bloodletting covers collection that sent Rage out on top. Recorded in the midst of the band's final fights, Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium captures performances from the conflicted collaborators' last two concerts. Pioneering rap-rock producer Rick Rubin assembled these letter-perfect renditions of most of Rage's better tracks, drawing heavily from BoLA. Thanks to the flying sparks, the songs from that limp album are no longer their weakest.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by D.X. Ferris

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation