January 26, 2013

Rage Against The Machine, Rage Again, Guitar, Bass, Rock Music, Rock, Music, Concerts, Live MusicIn 2007 I was at the Coachella music festival when Rage Against the Machine’s (RATM) comeback debuted. As soon as Zack de la Rocha’s voice came from the speaker, hordes of peoples began to gather from every other Coachella stage to RATM’s. I was easily 150ft away from the stage, yet the density and energy of the people made where I was just like the mosh pit. Needless to say, this experience made an impact on my life as did the other tens of thousands of attendees. If I could only relive it again… and again… and again…

Lucky for me, I happen to stumble upon the next best thing: Rage Again, a RATM tribute band. Before their most recent show, I went to see Rage Again practice in their rehearsal space.  After riding up to northern San Diego with their bassist, Brandon Austin, the night started with everyone filling themselves with some food. Then a few beers were cracked to get the mood right and, after some catching up, the gear was fired up and ready for action. What I found from my private Rage Again puts on an great rendition of one of my all-time favorite bands. They truly brought back some of the memorable feelings from 2007 Coachella despite the fact that I was squeezed between the end of Brandon’s base and Chris’ washing machine.  They know how to hit the right notes, and more importantly, how to re-enact the full spectrum of unique tonality employed by Tom Morello and Tim Commerford. Nothing quite like a late night show in a garage with the music turned up extremely loud.  Wake Up!


Rage Again is Dan Gildenhorn (vocals), Chris Cavalcanti (guitar), Brandon Austin (bass), and Adolfo Juarez (drums).  Like the original band, they have great chemistry together and really get your blood flowing when they play. 

Rage again later played live (January 18th) at the 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach, CA. The show started with Chris (guitarist) shirtless, which I should have recognized as a good omen as a RATM fan.  As the drums, guitar, and bass hit their first notes of “Bulls on Parade”, the energy of the room went up ten notches. Nearby at the bar I hear a girl shout “I love this song!” Then the vocalist begins his perfect replica of Zack de la Rocha’s vocals. The entire show continued with a steady build on this energy and “I love this song”, unsurprisingly, became a random person’s introduction to every song on set. By the time “Killing in the Name” starting playing, the entire bar was doing the bob dance, in addition to a guy in khaki pants and a collared shirt standing outside the glass wall (who I am assuming was crowd-phobic because a $6 cover seemed affordable for him). All in all it was a great show. Their set list included every fan favorite rage song and, props to the 710 sound guy, the acoustics were awesome.

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At one point after the show I imposed my curiosity about the band onto Brandon. Here are the answers to two of the questions I asked him:

Me: How did the band form?

Brandon: Dan and Adolfo (Vox and drums) know each other from various hip hop projects. Dan was the initiator of getting a rage band together. Adolfo laughs and says, "you find me a Tom Morello, and then I’ll play drums for your rage project". A craigslist post later, Chris and I responded and we were a band our first practice together. Chris is very modest about his ability to cover Morello.

I witnessed Chris nail Moretto’s work at 710, by the way.

Me: Do any of you have replicas of RATM gear that you play with?

Brandon: None of our gear are exact replicas, most are exact opposites. I had only an active jazz bass guitar and 1 x 15" combo amp when I got started, and it became clear instantly that I wouldn’t be loud enough. After researching how Tim C gets his tone (using 3 separate signals: clean, mild overdrive, and full distortion, sounding in unison with a passive jazz bass) I went out and got a 280 watt amp with 4 x 10" aluminum speakers to move some more air. I do the best that I can to mimic his sound by dialing in my pedals and onboard guitar EQ for each song. Chris plays through a left handed Les Paul which has the pickup toggle switch necessary to recreate most of Morello's work. Instead of using the original Digitech whammy pedal that is so essential to Morello's sound, he uses a Boss Harmonist pedal for all those Pterodactyl sounds. We prefer to capture the sound of Rage with the gear we have more than we try to look like them. Personally, I think that's pretty cheesy, and I can't afford the shirt-sized tattoo that Tim C has.

Even if Brandon is missing a Tim Commerford’s giant tattoo, if you are a RATM fan (who isn’t?) you need to check out Rage Again live. You can also follow them at www.RATMtribute.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/rageproject. Lucky for San Diegans, they play tonight at Winstons in Ocean Beach at 8:30p. There is a rumor that the bassist will also go shirtless when the crowd is at just the right energy…

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