Given the Internet's rather enthusiastic reaction to the announcement that Rage Against the Machine would be reuniting for Coachella, it seems like people, well, actually give a shit about Rage Against the Machine. Which is surprising considering it's not 1998 and—much as I've tried to forget about them—Audioslave really, really sucked bad.
Chicago may be missing out on the RATM reunion tour following the fest (though I'm sure their box office take will inspire at least one more victory lap), but we'll get a special taste of shitty-political-rock history when Libertyville's own Tom Morello comes to town for a pair of solo shows. On April 13 he'll be playing Lake Forest College, and on April 14 he'll be downtown at a protest/carnival thing for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Campaign for Fair Food. He'll be performing at both events as the Nightwatchman, the folk-singer persona he's just now starting to go public with after what seems to be a fairly lengthy gestation. Morello's an inventive and complex guitarist, but the Nightwatchman is stunningly straightforward and by-the-numbers. If you've never lived in a college town or been to a coffee house you may be unfamiliar with the kind of earnest, uninteresting folk jams he's putting down, but probably not. The folk-dude-who-reads-MIM-Notes archetype is practically unavoidable.
Still, as easy, fun, and personally rewarding as it is to bag on Morello's music, I can't fault his politics. This particular action by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is targeting the McDonald's corporation, which is making tons of money off the back-breaking labor of criminally underpaid workers and refusing to do anything to change the situation. Sorry to get all serious there for a second. Some of us are still mad at Mickey D's for going so long without telling us about the beef extract in their supposedly vegetarian french fries.
So basically, Tom Morello's folk music is pretty shitty, but McDonald's is way shittier, so don't let bad tunes keep you from doing the power-to-the-people thing.