Words + Photos by Frank Ralph

It says a lot that even a tyre blowing out on the motorway and 2 hours waiting to be rescued at 1am in the morning and getting just 3 hours sleep before setting off to work couldn’t kill the feeling that I had just seen, for me, the gig of the year… Prophets of Rage at Manchester Academy.

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From the electric energy of the support act Nova Twins – who brought their unique and in your face style of alternative rock, with Amy Love channelling her inner Betty Davis vocal style and Georgia South’s incredible bass – to the genre-defying, riff laden feast of classics delivered by headliners, Prophets of Rage.

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It’s blatantly obvious why Tom Morello has called Nova Twins the best band you’ve never heard, and they have spent a lot of time supporting tonight’s headliners over the past year.

They made plenty of new friends tonight and they’re heading out on their own headlining tour very soon. They’re a band you should really check out as soon as you can, and they were the perfect starter for tonight’s main course.

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Now, when you have three quarters of one of the most incendiary bands ever to walk the earth, then add in a true OG of hip hop, one of the 90’s best and most unique rap voices and a legendary DJ into the mix you’re are basically just showing off.

Public Enemy’s DJ Lord got the whole room warmed up with a heavy mix of rock and hip-hop classics before his bandmates burst into view and launched into PE’s Prophets of Rage to get things started.

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The whole setlist read as if I’d put about £50 in a jukebox and selected some of my all-time favourite tunes. A hefty mix that covered all the members previous bands as well as their own releases.

We were treated to Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, House of Pain and a poignant tribute to Chris Cornell with Audioslave’s Cochise which almost had me in tears. The band played the music and two spotlights focused on a lone microphone whilst the crowd sang all the words at the top of their voices – a truly incredible moment for someone like me who loved everything Chris did.

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The riffs and raps that made RATM such a huge name sounded as huge as they always did and the twin delivery of Chuck D and B-Real added genuine gravitas to the lyrics. So many people in the crowd completely lost it when the intro to Know your Enemy started but that was nothing compared to Bullet in The Head taking the roof off the building.

The biggest cheer of the night though was probably when Tom Morello revealed the F&@k Boris sign on the back of his guitar.

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The RATM members left the stage for a break and the hip-hop heads stayed to take the energy in a different direction giving us a masterclass in beats and rhymes with Hand on the Pump, Insane in the Brain, Bring the Noise and I Ain’t Going Out Like That all sounding huge before House of Pain’s Jump Around caused chaos in the crowd.

The whole show was about pure positive energy and showed how closely linked rock and hip-hop are and can be. Closing a show with Bulls on Parade, Killing in the Name and Bombtrack was exactly as ludicrously amazing as it sounds on paper and cemented this show as one of the best I’ve seen this or any other year.

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See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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