Watch Rage Against the Machine's First Concert Ever

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Does this scene seem familiar to you? Most college students at one point or another become familiar with the sparsely attended and awkward outdoor campus mixer played by the resident "campus band" and their herky-jerky covers of Bob Marley/Dylan/Weir.

That's pretty much what's happening in this video of a 1991 campus show at Cal State Northridge. Only what these budding Gen-X slackers don't realize is that they're hacky sacking in front of the very first performance of Rage Against the Machine, the funk-cum-metal luminaries who helped shape the face of aggressive music for the next 15 years. No big deal. Clearly Zach de la Rocha and co. had a long way to go, but it's worth noting that they know how to play their instruments and even get a decent sized crowd going towards the end. Cultural historian may also be fascinated by the early ironic use of trucker hats, male highlights, and some awkward attempts at white people dancing.

So next time you're suffering through an live experience, just remember that one day you just might be able to say, "I was there."

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Daniel D. Snyder is a writer based in New Mexico.

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