Rage Against the Machine, ever on brand, ripped the Supreme Court during its first show in 11 years — held at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin on Saturday evening — calling to “abort” the judiciary after it repealed 1973’s landmark ruling Roe v. Wade, which established the right to abortion under Constitutional privacy protections, more than two weeks ago.
The band’s reunion tour, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was due to take place two years ago — timed to the 2020 presidential election — but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, as evidenced by recent news, there’s still plenty to rage about.
While the performance was wordless (none of the band’s four members — vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk — gave speeches), several statements flashed on screen:
“Forced birth in a country that is the only wealthy country in the world without any guaranteed paid parental leave at the national level,” the captions read. “Forced birth in a country where Black birth-givers experience maternal mortality two to three times higher than that of white birth-givers. Forced birth in a country where gun violence is the number one cause of death among children and teenagers.”
The messages culminated in an all-caps statement that read: “ABORT THE SUPREME COURT.”
On the heels of Roe v. Wade’s repeal, Rage also announced that $475,000 earned from the sale of charity-benefiting tickets at the show, as well as two concerts at the United Center in Chicago, would be donated to reproductive rights organizations in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Throughout the duration of the show, the band also showcased several clips that commented on the poor state of the country — touching on topics of immigration, over-policing and mass shootings — including ones that depicted a menacing border patrol agent, a burning El Paso police vehicle and a child busting open an ICE agent-shaped piñata.
As fans of the outspoken band know, Rage has not held a show since 2011 and has not released new tracks for more than two decades. The leftist nu-metal band is most known for providing brash and to-the-point commentary and criticism of the U.S., with protest songs such as “Killing in the Name” (which condemned the police beating of Rodney King) and “Bulls on Parade” (on U.S. militarism and imperialism).