The last time we checked not a single member of Rage Against the Machines has Canadian citizenship, but that didn’t stop the American rage rockers from giving fans in our nation’s capital a quick history lesson this past weekend.
Taking to the stage at Ottawa’s Bluesfest, the band used its appearance to spotlight the way that Canada has historically treated Indigenous people.
Appearing on the video backdrop behind the band were the statements “In Canada, Indigenous women and girls are 16 times more likely to be murdered or to disappear than white women”, and “An Indigenous person in Canada is over 10 times more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than a white person.
In case both those messages were somehow missed, at other points the screen flashed messages like “Land Back” and “Settler-colonialism is murder”.
The Bluesfest set marked the first time in a decade that the recently reunited band has performed in Canada. What exactly Rage Against the Machine was doing headlining an event billing itself as “Bluesfest” is, meanwhile, a question for another time.
In what might be seen as the band's commitment to spreading the word that the world has seldom seemed more fucked in our lifetimes, singer Zack de la Rocha performed the set from a chair at centre stage. The frontman hurt himself during a previous show on July 11 in Chicago.
Back on the road for what it’s billed as the Public Service Announcement Tour, RATM has proven as famously political as ever during its current North American swing. The band has used previous dates in the States to rail against the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, thus restricting the rights of Americans to access abortion providers.