Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and Billy Bragg play Occupy London protest

Billy Bragg also tells NME: 'You can't change the world by smashing shop windows'

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello and singer-songwriter Billy Bragg played unannounced acoustic sets at the Occupy London protests at St Paul’s Cathedral this afternoon (November 9).

The camp has been in place in London since October 15 and has become part of a worldwide movement that has seen similar camps set up in almost 2,500 other places.

Morello performed a three-song set in the camp that has been set up by the side of the cathedral, with Rage Against The Machine‘s ‘Guerrilla Radio’ among the songs aired.

He began the gig by telling the crowd: “The people that own and control this world don’t deserve to. I have a message for them, the beginning is near. History isn’t made by CIA men running dope or by old men. It is made by people.”

He thanked the crowd for taking his band’s track ‘Killing In The Name’ to Number One in 2009 and beating off competition from X Factor-winner Joe McElderry, saying: “I’d like to thank everyone for giving the finger to Simon Cowell, The X Factor and commercial music.”

Morello is currently touring the UK under the name The Nightwatchman in support of Rise Against.

Tom Morello played:

‘Flesh Shapes The Day’
‘Guerilla Radio’
‘World Wide Rebel Songs’

Earlier on, Billy Bragg played a nine-song acoustic set outside St Paul’s Cathedral itself. The set featured his hits ‘Which Side Are You On?’, ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’ and his recent track ‘Last Flight To Abu Dhabi’.

Bragg also used his set to hit out at The Sun and the Murdoch empire, and called on the crowd to support Labour MP Tom Watson in his ongoing work in investigating the News Of The World phone hacking scandal.

He also told that crowd he was “greatly encouraged” by the worldwide Occupy movement and that they were part of an ongoing struggle. He said: “We’re gathered here today for a very old cause. It’s an ongoing struggle. People have the same needs, all over the world people want the same things. A better world for their children.”

Speaking to NME after the gig, Bragg said that he was really impressed by the turnout and believed that the peaceful nature of the camp was showing people that protests needn’t be violent.

He said: “I promised I’d come down here on the day of the student demos and I thought it was great. I was really impressed by the turnout and I was keen to see what was going in the camp. The march was great, too, there was no trouble at all.”

He also spoke about the riots and the effect he believed they’d had on people’s perceptions of protests, but added that he felt this time the agenda of Occupy London was resonating with the public. He added: “I think, after the riots, we’ve found out that you can’t change the world by smashing shop windows. But I think with the peaceful vibe here, people are starting to see past the previous stuff and actually hear the message.”

Billy Bragg played:

‘Which Side Are You On?’
‘World Turned Upside Down’
‘The Internationale’
‘The Battle Of Barking’
‘Between The Wars’
‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’
‘Last Flight To Abu Dhabi’
‘There Is Power In A Union’