Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Tom Morello occupies the Vogue Theatre

The RunnerOnline Edition: October 25, 2011 | Print Edition: Volume 4, Issue 4

He might perform under the moniker of the Nightwatchman, but it was Tom Morello who got the Vogue Theatre chanting and raising fists in unison on Wednesday night.

View slideshow in full screen for captions and image information.

The 47 year-old liberty rocker brought Occupy Vancouver protestors—“friends on the guest list”—to the historic venue for a frenzied live show that brought awareness to local and global issues.

Opening for the Nightwatchman was Thousands, an acoustic duo from Seattle. Their fast, capoed finger-picking was practiced, but their lyrics resembled high school creative writing poetry.

Morello kicked out the jams with “One Man Revolution”, the title track of his 2007 debut solo record, and riled up the Vancouver audience with strumming fury, bluesy harmonica and an impassioned voice of the people.

It wasn’t long before the crowd ignored security’s pleas for reserved seating and bum-rushed the stage. Morello then played the rather fitting “It Begins Tonight” to a chorus of stomping and clapping.

“One thing I like about the slogan, ‘We are the 99 per cent,’” he said between songs, “is the odds are 99 to one.”

He came with new material from his 2011 album, World Wide Rebel Songs, including the Spanish guitar-styled “The Dogs of Tijuana”. Then he busted out his Arm the Homeless guitar for “Save the Hammer for the Man” and made it scream two electric solos with his trademark whammying style.

Carl Restivo of the Freedom Fighters Orchestra (Morello’s backing band for larger performances) joined him for the blue-collar rally cry of “Union Town” and “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine”, a “feverish love ode” to his Morello’s new acoustic guitar of the same name.

However, when several manic pixie girls tried to get onstage, Morello stopped mid-song to assure them that later on in the show, they would be allowed up to party.

Two of the same girls unsuccessfully tried to jump onstage again, but were met by security and humourous remarks.

“I thought we had a deal,” Morello said with a grin.

He followed the disruption with the first-ever live performance of “The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse”. Then he dedicated “No One Left” to the international victims of the Iraq War and “Saint Isabelle” to his late aunt, both of which got strong responses.

One thing I like about the slogan, ‘We are the 99%,’ is the odds are 99 to one.

Tom Morello

He moved into a slower, unplugged version of Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio” and a high-voltage rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with an over-under tapping solo and also picked a few notes with his teeth.

“I’m not going to go offstage and pretend that I might not come back,” he said before the encore.

Morello convinced the raucous crowd to stand in silence during the soft, heartfelt “The Garden of Gethsemane”, then had them on their feet for “The Road I Must Travel”.

As promised, he let fans onstage for the final song (which emptied half of the orchestra section) during a sing-along of “World Wide Rebel Songs”.

Some fans might have expected more Rage songs like “Bulls on Parade” or “Killing in the Name”, but they ought to keep their fingers crossed for a Rage Against the Machine tour in 2012.

What better place than here. What better time than now.

Concert Preview | October 14, 2011
OCT
19
Vancouver, BC
Vogue Theatre
Tom Morello worldwide rebellion heads northwest

When he isn’t occupying Wall Street and putting on impromptu acoustic performances in small-town America, Tom Morello is spreading his political activism through song under the moniker of the Nightwatchman.

Armed with his “Arm the Homeless” custom Kramer guitar, the Grammy Award-winning musician is bringing his alter ego to Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre on October 19.

Fans can expect unplugged songs like “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine” and “Save the Hammer for the Man” off of his 2011 solo album, World Wide Rebel Songs. With three albums and an EP in his eight-year back catalog, the Nightwatchman’s sound contrasts his ‘90s alt-metal past, opting for harmonicas and folk tunes over distortion pedals and “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me.”

But Morello is also sure to play loud, electric guitar-heavy selections of Rage Against the Machine and his rap-rock duo, Street Sweeper Social Club, and maybe even some Audioslave. His last venture to the Pacific Northwest in November 2008 saw back-to-back performances which included “Guerrilla Radio” and a reworded cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”.

The 1,144-seater Vogue Theatre is notorious for hosting similar high-profile acts, including Motörhead and the Offspring. The intimate venue houses a top-notch sound system and a low stage that puts you closer to the band than any other historic music hall on Granville Street.

Morello brings his one-man revolution to the Vogue Theatre on Wednesday. Tickets are on sale through the Vogue Theatre box office and online at http://www.voguetheatre.com for $23.00.

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