On Wednesday night, Republican delegates fresh off Gov. Sarah Palin's vice presidential nomination speech at the Xcel Energy Center here formed a conga line of taxis, buses and private cars to Minneapolis, where post-convention parties were firing up. At almost the same time, a huge crowd was emptying out of the Target Center after a political show of a different sort -- a concert by the band Rage Against the Machine.
A small fraction of those people, perhaps 200, decided to take over the intersection of First Avenue North and Seventh Street. Traffic snarled, and delegates watched in waiting traffic as riot-clad police pushed the spontaneous, vocal protest up Seventh Street. A delegate from Texas said, "Those guys, again?"
Yes, again. For two weeks straight, both in Denver and in Minneapolis, Rage Against the Machine, a rap-metal band formed in 1991 and known for its big noise and ferocious politics, formed an ad-hoc convention in opposition to both major parties. Although the band has been a significant commercial success -- three of its albums in the 1990s attained multiplatinum status -- radical politics have always been baked into their music.