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Two long-delayed reunions at `Bells'

Rage Against the Machine set to join Wu-Tang Clan at the hip-hop festival.

February 26, 2007|Geoff Boucher | Times Staff Writer

The Rage Against the Machine reunion will be more than one performance after all: The seminal L.A. band will join the Wu-Tang Clan for three shows under the banner of Rock the Bells, the acclaimed hip-hop festival that kicks off in New York on July 28 and hits Southern California on Aug. 11.

That local show will be at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino. Another show, on Aug. 18, will be in San Francisco. The sites of the New York and San Francisco events as well as ticket information will be announced today.

Rage previously had been announced as the closing-night headliner of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 29 in Indio, a festival that sold out 80 days in advance in part because of the pent-up fan demand for the band, which hasn't played together since 2000.

The Coachella show was announced as a "one-and-done" affair. The quick sellout and the high-priced ticket scalping already underway are among the factors that led to the added shows, according to sources close to the band. There's also the historical punch of performing with Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most ambitious and influential hip-hop outfits ever.

The New York hip-hop collective has already announced the planned summer release of "8 Diagrams," the Clan's first album since "Iron Flag" in 2001. The album will feature new contributions from eight of the nine members from its classic lineup: RZA, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwon, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa. The ninth member, ODB, who died in 2005, will appear in previously recorded material.

RZA said in November that the contemporary doldrums of hip-hop demand a return by the flamboyant and potent Clan: "People want something that gives them an adrenaline rush. We're here to supply that fix. How could hip-hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever? We're here to revive the spirit and the economics and bring in a wave of energy that has lately dissipated."

Fans have been hopeful that Rage Against the Machine would decide to tour, but according to Chang Weisberg, the founder of Guerilla Union and organizer of Rock the Bells, these three new dates and the Coachella appearance are the extent of the current comeback.

Rage helped launch Coachella in 1999, when the band co-headlined the inaugural edition of the huge festival.

geoff.boucher@latimes.com

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