If pioneering rap-metal foursome Rage Against The Machine embodied the boiling point of Gen-X angst and disillusionment, then Zack De La Rocha was the voice of the revolution. Riding in on waves of distortion and feedback provided by guitarist Tom Morello, De La Rocha’s seething, politically charged lyrics were a vicious counterattack against societal oppression. As the rapper/lyricist once explained, “I’m interested in spreading ideas [of social activism] through art, because music has the power to cross borders, to break military sieges and to establish real dialogue.”

While tensions within the band eventually led Zack to part ways with Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford in 2000, the inherently volatile group was responsible for some of the most iconic music of the 90’s. In honor of De La Rocha’s 48th birthday today, take a look back at Rage in their prime, performing at Reading Festival 1996 in Reading, UK (thanks to YouTube user Stan Smith):

Setlist: Rage Against The Machine | Reading Festival 1996 | Reading, UK | 8/23/96

Set: People of the Sun, Know Your Enemy, Vietnow, Bombtrack, Without a Face, Bullet in the Head, Tire Me, Bulls on Parade, Killing in the Name, Freedom/Township Rebellion