I'd been counting down the days to see Rage Against The Machine for weeks and finally the day was here ! As you know, after quite a groovy Facebook campaign, the British people mobilised and bought the 1992 hit "Killing In The Name" in order to stop the predictable 5th consecutive Christmas number one by The X Factor. Finally the charts were getting interesting again. Fans were asked to donate to Shelter, and the band put all their royalties from the sales of the song to the same charity.
So back to the day. I met my mate at The Garden Ladder, a little pub on Green Lanes near where we both used to live for some Sunday lunch (at 430pm - is it still lunch then?) and then headed off to the Old Ale Emporium (or OAP as we affectionately call it). Its a traditional old man's pub that plays football at any opportunity and seems to have a constant stream of 70s rock music playing. I should hate it but I don't. It used to be our local even though I have nothing in common with any of the people that seem to go there.
We were going to originally get to the park for around 8.30 but I was told on Twitter that I really should see Gogol Bordello (or whom I had zero knowledge) and I'm so glad we changed plans and caught them. (Thanks @IanReentrant). They were amazing. Not sure how to descibe them. A mixture of punk rock, accordion, violin, and a general gypsy vibe going on. Like a modern day Dexy's except actually good. They ended the set by throwing one of the drums into the crowd which was followed by the drummer launching himself into the crowd in order to retrieve it. This ended up with the crowd supporting him on the drum, as though it were the base of a statue.
After a beer break we got back into place for RATM. The crowd was getting more packed and more people were trying to get into their prime spot. One lad with a large rucksack kept banging into my mate (accidentally) until he snapped back. I calmed the situation down and tried to explain that people are always going to be banging into him and to not worry about it.
Immediately after that a rather large man apparently catapulted himself past us rudely pushing everyone aside. "Don't be a dick" I said and was told to fuck off. I gave him the finger (as did at least two others) and I explained to my mate that this situation was different to the one that he found himself in, and that I was acting in the right. (obviously)
We were beside two girls with wooden spoons who were admonishing any rude people who pushed in with a sharp thwack to the back of the legs.
We liked them !
It was time for Rage, and the opening was done with a real sense of humour, with a cartoon Simon Cowell introducing the band before they launched into "Testify". Al the sings you would expect to hear were played and the only gripe I had was that the overall volume could have been louder. but then again, i'd say that about any gig.
Zack encouraged the UN to take action on the blockade of Gaza, but other than this, the politics were kept to a minimum (which was a shame). The band brought on the organisers of the Facebook campaign and hugged them, before presenting Shelter with a giant cheque, however we didn't find out how much it was. Anyone know how much was raised?
A security man told a guy near me that he wasn't allowed to make his own beer in the park. He turned to him and said "Fuck you, I won't brew where you tell me" (This bit didn't actually happen.)
The show ended. But no "Killing In The Name". However, SURPRISE ! The band came back on to a montage of quotes and stats from the Christmas campaign, each provoking lots of good natured boos and cheers, over a soundtrack of the X factor song. The place exploded as it had done back at Reading Festival in 1993 which was the last time I had seen them.
As the track ended we started heading to the exits. Once out of Finsbury Park it struck us that the tube would be rather hideous so we decdied to go to the pub on the corner till things "died down". This was rather naive as the pub soon got rammed not long after we had got our drinks and when we left it turned out that nothing had died down at all. We decided to walk into the crowds and get to Manor House where he could get on the tube easier and i could get my bus home.
As I was waiting for the bus I was told I was at the wrong stop. I turned and said to them "Fuck you, I won't queue where you tell me." (This didn't happen either but I really wish it had)