This Video Of Rage Against The Machine’s First Ever Show Might Prove Time Travel Is Real
It’s hard to imagine but before they were a revolutionary, rap metal juggernaut, Rage Against The Machine were four guys from LA playing a free concert in the quadrant of California State University, Northridge. Sure, every band has to have a first show, but most bands’ live debuts aren’t filmed. And, let’s face it, most bands aren’t Rage Against The Machine.
The concert took place on October 23, 1991 and guitarist Tom Morello has since confirmed it was the band’s first ever public performance. To give some context to how early this is, RATM’s debut album wasn’t recorded until April 1992 and wasn’t released until November that year. We’re talking a show so early that their opening song – an unknown ditty that came to be known as Killing In The Name – doesn’t even seem to have lyrics yet. We repeat: ‘Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ had never even been uttered over those not-yet-iconic riffs.
Imagine dawdling between lectures and stumbling across Zack de la Rocha screaming his way through Take The Power Back, Bullet In The Head and Know Your Enemy. Imagine seeing some guy in a local band stomping about and playing guitar the way Tom Morello does. Would you stop and stare like the small crowd they accumulate over the set? Or, would you wander past like most people?
Either way, if this video proves one thing it’s that, even at their first ever live show, Rage Against The Machine were infinitely better than 99 per cent of bands on the face of the Earth. But it also raises another question: who is the man in the maroon shirt?
This MVP bursts onto the scene 19 and a half minutes into the set in a blur of flailing limbs… and he is one of two things:
1) He’s our very own Forrest Gump, accidentally bounding into one of rock’s most seminal shows. Officially the first guy in the world to lose his shit to RATM – encapsulating the no-fucks-given essence of Rage before they’d even finished their first set. Or, alternatively…
2) He’s conclusive proof of time travel. After all, if you had access to a time machine, wouldn’t you go and visit the first shows of all your favourite bands? If not, you’re doing time travel wrong. If you’re not convinced by this theory then ask yourself this, who recorded 52 minutes of an unknown band’s first set and kept it until YouTube was a thing? A time traveller. That’s who. And he’s right there in the video.
Other than showing that Rage were intimidatingly brilliant from day one, providing an incredible memento of one of rock’s most important bands and possibly capturing a time traveller in action, this completely improbable video is a reminder that next time you’re thinking of swerving the local opening band at a show, you might just be missing something as important as RATM’s first set. Although, like, probably not.