Immortal Technique and Brother Ali reached the home stretch of their War & Peace Tour Tuesday night (Oct 1, 2013) the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Massachusetts after the canceling of the East Coast dates for the Rock the Bells tour. The theme of the tour, “Music with a Message”, was omnipresent throughout the night. The headlining acts have always had a heavy emphasis on social, political and cultural issues in their music which seem to resonate even more on the same day that the United States Government entered a shut-down state.
Brother Ali’s songs “Uncle Sam, God Damn” and “Mourning in America” seemed to strike much harder and closer to home than ever before. But Ali did not dwell on the state of the uncertainty we have found ourselves in, he took the alternative path of promoting self worth and dedication to peaceful change. This part of the show is clearly where the tour earns the “Peace” portion of it’s name. His message is clear as day on tracks like “Freedom Ain’t Free” but he never leaves from the position of peaceful protest. The opening acts were heavy on violence and aggression, and the soothing laid back sounds of “Babygirl” and “Take Me Home” allowed for a much needed contrast.
By the time Immortal Technique took the stage the Revolutionaries (Immortal Technique Fans) were in full force. Technique emerged from the stage right curtain donning a Guy Fawkes mask to the beat of “The Martyr” and the crowd erupted when he removed the mask. It was time for the “War” segment of the show, the “defy everything you have been told and pick up arms against the powers that be” segment. Songs like “Rich Mans World” illustrate where Tech stands on the social and financial divide we find in our modern society. The songs that demand change and paint pictures of American injustice are the songs that draw in fans who can agree or relate to what they see around them. There are two sides to the coin though because some songs that draw in some repel others. The cult like following of Immortal Technique had no problem rapping along to “Bin Laden” reciting in unison that “Bush knocked down the towers”. This is by far the most extreme song in Immortal Technique’s catalog and it created a powerfully dark and heavy atmosphere, this is also where the halfway fans draw a line and do not fully commit to Immortal Technique.
The element of contrast was in full effect at this concert aligning War and Peace, but the underlying theme was still promoting change. Personally I have always been a fan of both Brother Ali and Immortal Technique, but I spoke to many people who were at the concert to see one or the other but both of the headliners. This shed light on their polar opposite approach to bringing about change. But it was refreshing to see the power of music take shape and gather a crowd who is interested in changing the current state of affairs through both methods of War and Peace.