Monster Energy Aftershock brought its sixth year of the festival back to Discovery Park after leaving for a few years, and man did they do it up right this year 50,000 people in attendance just amazing. The layout of the grounds and placement of stages, food vendor, and beer tents was just perfect. The VIP area was very well done as with access on the hill to see both the Monster Energy Stage and the BlackCraft Stage. The Capital Stage was along the back line of the Park. Almost under the freeway and tucked away from the other two stages. It gave people a chance to go for a walk, grab a drink, do some shopping and hit up the Monster Energy Music Experience. Where fans could meet bands, have them perform and sign autographs. It was all mixing to be a wonderful weekend of Rock N Roll.
Starting off the Day on the BlackCraft Stage was this two-piece Rock Duo called Deap Vally and man did they bring the heat. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards were the perfect band to kick today’s festival off right. Their high energy and hard hitting sound put everyone in the perfect mood. Hits like Royal Jelly, End of the world, and Baby I call Hell got the crowd rocking and Rolling! These two women can play furious and dirty, it all has such a funky vibe to it; everyone was grooving to their set. After their set, I moved over to The Monster Energy Stage to get a Glimpse of Fashion Art Rockers based out of Las Vegas Palace Royale. These young chaps are Canadian Born, but full on LA Glam Rockers at Heart. For being relatively new to the scene, these guys had a massive crowd just waiting in anticipation for their performance to start. They Start out just electric alive, A “Pop Rock” type of Vibe. Very tight band doing over 400 shows over last four years. They know how to get a crowd going and using the stage to the fullest. There popular tune Mr. Doctor Man put the crowd into overdrive and the band themselves started to make magic happen up there. It was an incredible to experience and they knew it as well.
After that stellar performance I was off to check out the only unsigned band to take the stage, Joyous Wolf. There was a lot of buzz around about this band. The high energy the lead singer has and at such a young age allows him to command the crowd. It was true the hype was real. It was like watching the blues on steroids with fat punchy guitar riffs and a bad ass grooves. These kids were for real and they made sure you knew it. At one point singer Nick Reese climbed up the whole side of the Stage while singing away. They have a great classic Rock style vibe and they have the hard hitting thick crunchy punch you in the face style. Can’t wait to see what’s next for these guys. Songs “Turning Blue” and “Mountain Man” were two of my favourites from their set.
So Many Bands to see so next I decided to go check out Highly Suspect and wow did I make a great choice! These guys are super-hot right now, with hits all over radio and the internet. Hits like My Name are Human, Little One and Lydia just to name a few. Johnny came out with smoke in one hand, bottle of beer in the other. Both twin brothers Rich and Ryan came to party as well. Rich came out with a huge wicker Sun hat on, as the day’s sun was beating down now as it was close to mid-day. This Power trio just blast through song after song and Johnny just fly’s so effortlessly up and down his guitar blasting out some amazing solo leads while Rich and Ryan Lay Down a fat foundation, their sound is infectious. The crowd seemed to know every verse of every song. Johnny is the north star that guilds the ship so effortlessly.
Now going from one amazing frontman to another I hopped back over to The Monster Energy Stage to get a backstage view of Eagles of Death Metal lead by Boots Electric himself, Father Bad Ass Jesse Hughes. While Josh Homme wasn’t present for this performance the rest of the Band Dave Catching (guitar), Jennie Vee (bass), Jorma Vik (drums), and Special Guest Guitarist from Mastodon, Brent Hinds, did not disappoint. If you haven’t been to an EODM show it’s like a circus party just came in and took over and its electric they have asses booging the minute they start till the second they are done. Such good chunky heavy riffs. Each one of them on stage is their own character ready to take charge and give it all they got. At one point both Johnny and Ryan from Highly Suspect came on stage on their BMXs and hugged Jesse. Jesse said a few kind words about their band and then EODM belted into Complexity. Then the Ringleader had his crowed locked in for a long party ride.
After that Party Boat docked I was off to see Stone Sour. I was totally excited for this one. Their tour manager invited me up to watch the show from the stage so I could get an inside view of the intensity right up-close. And that it was, as they ripped into Taipei Person/ Allah Tea to start the Set then Blasting into Made of Scares, Say you’ll Haunt Me, 30/30-150 , Tired and Song #3 it was like a full on assault up there on the stage. Corey and company were ferocious. You could see the band just feeding on everyone’s energy as the Assault continued with everyone’s favorite Through Glass and to close it out they went with Fabuless. Throughout this excellence, the mosh pits where getting bigger and bigger with person after person crowd surfing. It was a busy day for security catching all these fans just trying to get a little closer to the fire. It was pure love for the music, and Stone Sour laid it all out there.
Next on this amazing journey through Discovery Park, was Mastodon over at the Blackcraft Stage. After been together for over 17 years, these veteran Heavy Metal Rockers still come out and kick your teeth in song after song. Troy, Brent, Bill and Brann are all going 100 miles per hour and full tilt boogie. They started the show off with one of my favourites: Sultan’s Curse. You could see the fans just light up like they just poured gasoline on a fire. Heavy Metal was alive and well and Mastodon was burning everyone up with their progressive ripping, melodic songs. All the voices from everyone onstage always impress me. Thrashing through Divination and Crystal Skull. Watching Brann Dailor just crush Ancient Kingdom with his speed drumming is phenomenal to watch! From there I watched them put everyone in a trance with Ember City. Megalodon brought such a riot feeling in the air as people were getting their metal fix today. Andromeda is always killer followed up by the radio friendly Show Yourself. Closing out with Precious Stones and Steam Breather that almost brought the crowd to their knees out of pure exhaustion from giving it all they had the whole 45 mins.
With all sorts of problems with their tour bus coming down the coast, Greta Van Fleet almost didn’t make the show. As they were originally set to start early in the day, they just weren’t going to make it for their time slot. The Festival organizers made room and put Greta Van Fleet in right before all the headliners preformed. It was truly magical for them under the lights these small-town boys from Michigan living the dream on tour. Both their rhythm section Danny (drums) and Sam (Bass) just graduated high school right before their first tour started this summer. These four guys are bringing real old school rock and roll back to life, as they live and breathe its essence. Starting out with only a 4-song EP last year, these guys are blowing up the charts. It all happened so organically and everyone was a buzz tonight to see them and they did not disappoint. They started it out with Lover Leaver Taker Believer. This song makes you just want to go out and buy an old 69 charger, hand crank the windows down, turn this song up all the way and just find an old dirt road to fly down. And forget about everything else. That’s the feel their whole set had, they are one cool ass band to watch lay it all down. Their guitar player Jake is a machine up there, solo after solo. All these little leads he does are just amazing. Not to mention the behind the head super long solo. Again so impressive for their age and this being a first summer tour. If they come to your town you need to see these guys! You won’t be disappointed; they are the real deal. Greta Van Fleet are putting life back into rock.
Now for your headliners, first up is legendary A Perfect Circle. Maynard in his usual spot, back far left of stage belting out all the classics. From Judith to Weak and Powerless they all sounded amazing as the night came together, highlights for me were hearing live their new songs “Hourglass” and “Feathers”. Hourglass has this heavy synth driven defiant feeling to it with a megaphone effect on Maynard’s vocals drives home the pent-up anger in this song. Billy Credits Depeche Mode as a influences on these new recording and I definitely heard it as well. Feathers has a very lonesome feeling to it which, has been a theme throughout their records. With not putting out new music since 2004’s Emotive, I’m really hoping to see more of a full album from them coming soon.
To close out the night everyone started heading over to the Monster Energy Stage to get ready to witness Trent Reznor and NIN bring down the house, I’ve seen them many time and they come from all angles each time I see them. Always so powerful, aggressive and tender Nine Inch Nails attacks the whole set. Starting off with “Fireman” the cosmic Tribal cover playing over the PA, it faded out and with a Bang and “Branches/Bones” flipped a switch and this ride was about to begin. Cruising through thrillers like “Wish”, “March of the Pigs”, “Something I Can Never Have”, and the tour Debut of “Letting You” with a 19-song set they brought everything they had with them and had everyone in a complete frenzy. It was amazing to be a part of. With Trent Reznor Guiding the Ship you have nowhere else to go but up, and with their Encores of “The Day the World Went Away” and “Hurt” that’s where we all went. They are some of the best musicians I have ever witnessed and they always bring it and that’s what makes this Aftershock Festival Day One was all about. From the start of the day to the very last song of the night, the mood, the atmosphere the people were truly amazing.