I went to the Casbah on Thursday night to see Run Run Run, Von Iva and Publicists at the Casbah on Thursday night, but my good friend Greg made the trek up to the Belly Up. He sent me his review of the show and I'd like to share it with all of you.
From Greg P.:
I was really excited to see Tom Morello last Thursday night at The Belly Up. I had never gotten the chance to see him play with Rage Against The Machine and never really cared about seeing him with Audioslave; but have been a huge fan of his alter-ego The Nightwatchman. I was really floored by the first Nightwatchman album "One Man Revolution" and his current album "The Fabled City". Not only did these albums prove he was a great songwriter, but that had an incredible singing voice, as well. It reminds me alot of Leonard Cohen's deep baritone that he had late in his career. When I saw that he was going to be playing with a full band for the show, I figured we werent going to be getting much the stripped down versions of the songs from his albums; and for the most part we didnt. Songs like "One Man Revolution", "House Gone Up In Flames", and "The Road I Must Travel" we're re-arranged into all-out electric guitar assaults with Morello proving why he is considered one of the great guitarists of the past 25 or so years. Seeing him work his magic on the electric guitar was absolutely mind-blowing, and an unforgettable experience.
Click 'keep on reading' for full post and setlist.
About half-way through the show, the band was joined onstage by Boots Riley, who was the opening act, and is also in a side-project with Morello called Street Sweeper. They previewed a song called "100 Little Curses" from a forthcoming album that sounded a whole lot like Rage Against The Machine with its Godzilla-stomp groove and rap vocals. Saying that he was ready to party and get down a little , we also got a Nightwatchman "party song" called "Shake My Shit" which showed a side of Morello I really didnt expect, but was a fun song regardless.
The show did have some quiet acoustic moments such as "Garden Of Gethsemene", plus a stripped down version of "St. Isabelle" which was played with just harmonica and drum. I would have preferred to have heard the album version, but it still sounded good, so I cant complain much. I guess the big surprise to me was Morello covering The Killers by doing an acoustic version of "Human". It was a pretty stunning version; like it was intended to be played that way from the very beginning.
Political talk was pretty much kept to a minimum for the most part during the show. Since Tom is a big-time activist I knew we we're going to get some eventually during the show, but it wasn't any annoyingly long rants. He basically reminded us that even though great strides we're made this past year with the election of the first African-American President, we we're still we're dealing with D.C. politicians and that real change can occur only if average citizens hold those elected officials accoutable and to their word. I had also read a few days before about how a moment of silence was going to be held at some of his shows in protest of our governments practice of playing music constantly from certain artists and bands, like Rage Against The Machine, to torture inmates at Guantanamo Bay. That didnt happen at this show, but he did say that once President-elect Obama decides to shut down that prison, he needs to leave one small cell open for certain members of our current administration to be stuffed into and for Rage Against The Machine to be cranked up and blasted inside it non-stop, day and night. He then broke into an acoustic country-blues version of Rage's "Guerrilla Radio".
This past April, I was at the Bruce Springsteen show in Anaheim when Morello performed "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" with Springsteen; and it turned out to be the highlight the show, and it was pretty much the same this night as well with the band absolutely nailing it. Probably the best version I've heard yet of that great song. The show came to a close with the Woody Guthrie standard "This Land Is Your Land", with Morello breaking the lesser known protest lyrics to the song and included a rap from Boots Riley. The song ended with the house lights being turned on and the crowd joining the band in one big sing-along to finish it. After allowing the crowd to settle down a bit, Tom ended the evening with the great acoustic number "Rise To Power" from "The Fabled City".
Overall, it was a great night. I wish we would have gotten more songs from "One Man Revolution", but I really can't complain much at all about that. It was a kick-ass show regardless, with great songs and some pleasant surprises . Here's hoping to a return of The Nightwatchman in the near future.
ONE MAN REVOLUTION
WHATEVER IT TAKES
THE FABLED CITY
HOUSE GONE UP IN FLAMES
100 LITTLE CURSES
SHAKE MY SHIT
GARDEN OF GETHSEMENE
GHOST OF TOM JOAD
THE ROAD I MUST TRAVEL
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
RISE TO POWER