Rage Against The Machine rock New York

Band play storming set at Randall’s Island

Rage Against The Machine were the highlight of touring hip-hop festival Rock The Bells as it blew into New York at the weekend with two consecutive shows on Randall’s Island (July 28, 29).

Spread over two stages, the festival proved to be a huge-hit with fans despite Sunday’s torrential rain, which turned much of the site into quagmire.

Playing their first dates since reforming for Coachella, Rage Against The Machine were clearly in a no-nonsense mood, saying nothing between songs tearing through a 75-minute best-of show.

They played:

‘Guerrilla Radio’

‘Bulls On Parade’

‘People Of The Sun’

‘Bombtrack’

‘Vietnow’

‘Bullet In The Head’

‘Tire Me’

‘Testify’

‘Calm Like A Bomb’

‘Sleep Now In The Fire’

‘War Within A Breath’

‘Freedom’

‘Killing In The Name’

Other second day highlights included Rakim, whose performance was curtailed due to time restraints. However, the rap pioneer still managed to run through classics from his days as part of Eric B And Rakim including ‘Microphone Fiend’, ‘Follow The Leader’ and ‘Paid In Full’.

Cypress Hill, meanwhile created a talking point by performing in front of a giant, inflatable Buddah with a marijuana leaf on its belly. They played a festival-friendly set, pausing only for rappers B-Real and Sen-Dog to smoke a typically large spliff on stage.

Political firebrands Public Enemy issued a tirade of abuse against President George Bush during their slot, which was played with the assistance of a full band and included a duet with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian on ‘Bring The Noise’.

The Wu Tang Clan made a much-anticipated return to their hometown to showcase material from their forthcoming ‘8 Diagrams’ album. The Staten Islanders excited the crowd by delivering a raucous performance and paying tribute to the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

–By our New York staff.

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