The largest music festival in California came to the city of Sacramento and 97,500 Hard Rock and Metal music fans from all over the country poured into Discovery Park October 11-13 to attend the 8th annual Aftershock Festival. And it just happened to be a sold-out weekend to top it all off. Gene Simmons, the bassist for Kiss, has over the years said Rock music is dead. Ninety-seven thousand five hundred fans would with their middle fingers raised would probably each say, think again!
Aftershock is a monstrous event for music fans and music lovers everywhere. It’s metal, it’s rock and roll, it’s more metal, and it’s more rock and roll. To sum it up, it’s a three-day event with three stages, with over 50 artists at the Discovery Park in beautiful Sacramento, California. This year Danny Wimmer Presents expanded the Aftershock festival one more day for the first time, and it was an excellent decision to do so, because the festival has now sold out for the 5th consecutive year in a row, and is looking to sell out again next year already with the announcement that Metallica in 2020 will be there for two nights, headlining Friday and Saturday, with each night performing a different set.
The day before Aftershock’s gates opened, Danny Wimmer Presents announced that Metallica would be playing all five festivals, Aftershock, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple, Welcome To Rockville, and Epicenter. And at each festival, Metallica would be headlining two nights, with each night playing a different set. Of course, when this was announced, James Hetfield, Metallica’s vocalist/guitarist had recently checked himself into rehab for his struggles with addictions. Hopefully, he has a speedy healthy recovery, and is ready to scream to the sea of people with their devil horns raised high in the air, ‘Are you f*cking ready Sacramento? Are you f*cking ready, Aftershock?’ come October next year.
As fans had been waiting for the moment since the massive lineup was announced in April, everyone could finally stop pacing the floor because it was finally October. Everyone was finally going to be able to watch some heavy hitters hitting all three stages, including Tool, Slipknot, Lamb Of God, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Stone Temple Pilots, and Korn. In addition to the headliners, several buzz-worthy up-and-coming bands were present, including Mongolian folk metal band The Hu and South Florida’s hip-hop/metal act Ghostemane.
This three-day festival was packed with enough varieties of food trucks, beer, along with Metallica’s Blackened Whiskey, Manard’s Caduceus Wine Garden, Kolas, the most innovative chain of cannabis dispensaries, Monster Energy Experience, Slipknot’s Iowa Whiskey No, 9, add all that with some killer music pilled on for just about anyone’s appetite that Austin Grosklags from Austin, Texas got on his motorcycle to make the trip all the way to Sacramento to be a part of Aftershock. Now that’s some dedication!
AFTERSHOCK DAY ONE:
What many fans had been waiting for was finally here, the Aftershock Festival was about to begin, and it was going to deliver a knockout punch right away. And what better way to set things off with none other than Tempe, Arizona’s DED starting things off with their song “Architect” and getting the crowd ready for the rest of the day and evening. They finished their set with a crowd favorite “Anti-Everything,” which slowly started to stir up the mosh pit dust.
Up next was Finland’s Santa Cruz and also an artist that was on quite a few people’s radars, and her name is Poppy. From what is posted around on the internet, she is a part bubblegum pop star, part performance artist, and part robot? And she may be the future of Heavy metal music according to some. We’ll wait and see about that, either way, she is a YouTube phenomenon with more than 200 million views, especially with her recent video, “I Disagree.” Unfortunately, she was unable to make it to Aftershock due to a fire. She was scheduled to start the day off on the Monster Energy stage, but according to one of her social media pages she said, ‘a fire jumped out in front of her van.’ What she was referring to was a recent 580-acre wildfire that had broken out and had shut down part of Interstate 80. The power company PG&E had announced they would be doing roaming blackouts for safety reasons, and a lot of fans were questioning if the blackouts were going to affect the festival in any way on Aftershock’s social media Facebook page. Aftershock responded with, we have our own power. That shows you how big this festival is. To continue, luckily, Poppy was able to make it to the next stop Portland, Oregon, to continue the tour with Bring Me The Horizon.
Ricardo Campelo, from Curitiba, Southern Brazil, caught a flight to Sao Paulo, then to Mexico City, continuing with a flight to San Francisco, California, where he slept for the night, then took a bus to Sacramento. It was about 36 hours of traveling time, he said. When asked why he made the very long trip, he said, “I decided to make the festival when I saw Gojira, Tool, and Lamb of God would be playing.” His highlights, Gojira. And it was his first time seeing them perform live. “Never have I been to a festival with an energy so intense both from the band and the audience. Everybody looked possessed!” Another highlight he mentioned was Deadland Ritual. “To watch some legends such as Butler and Stevens on a small stage, they were really connected to us in the crowd. Also, them playing covers from Sabbath and Billy Idol got the crowd really pumped up! Definitely a memorable festival.” And to top it all off, he said Saturday was his 40th birthday, and he celebrated crowd surfing to Bad Religion.
And for anyone that has ever wanted to see Pantera perform live and never got the chance, or just wanted to hear the group one more time, well you were kind of in luck with Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals performing mid-afternoon on the Monster Energy stage. Phil Anselmo, Pantera’s vocalist from 1986 to 2003, until the untimely death of original guitarist Dimebag Darrel, performed an all Pantera set, opening with “Mouth For War” and finishing with “F*cking Hostile.” There were a sea devil horns hands in the air fist pumping while the mosh pit stirred like a tornado during his entire set, stirring up the dust even more, and it was mid-afternoon, with plenty more still on tap yet to come.
Also, on Aftershocks bill on day one was Halestorm, and Lzzy rocked the crowd with their set that included “Do Not Disturb,” “I get off,” “Freak Like Me,” and “I Miss The Misery.” Halestorm just finished up a tour with Godsmack on October 20th in St. Charles, Missouri.
Up next was Lamb of God, and they had control of the early evening, and they opened the flood gates immediately and got the crowd going with their opening song, “Omerta.” As soon as Randy, the vocalist, said, “Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward,” and you were anywhere in front of the stage, you had better look out if you weren’t paying attention because the mosh pit was going to ignite like a fire and get brutal. It’s been since 2015s VII: Sturm und Drang since Lamb of God released anything original, so of course, they stuck to playing their classics like “Ruin,” “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” “11th Hour,” finishing their set for the night with the ferocious “Redneck.” A highlight, if you call it that, was during their set was when they had begun to play “Walk With Me In Hell,” and Randy had to stop everything to make sure someone wasn’t hurt in the crowd. Luckily, it turned out no one was.
With barely enough time to make it over to the Kolas Discovery stage because the crowd was getting tighter than two coats of paint, Aaron Lewis and his partners in crime Staind took the stage next. With the large crowd, you could assume everyone was ready for this because Staind hadn’t played together as a band in over five years, other than recently at the Louder Than Life festival, and like they hadn’t missed a beat opened with “Eyes Wide Open.” By the roar of the crowd, Aaron had to have been able to tell they were hungry for him to sing more songs since it had been so long since they saw them perform. And of course, they couldn’t do a reunion show without playing the songs “It’s Been A While” and “Mudshovel.” Hopefully, Aaron and the rest of the band keep the momentum going of playing together again and hit the studio soon to quench everyone’s Staind thirst.
And to close the first night of Aftershock 2019 were none other than Slipknot who are still basking in the sun of their #1 Billboard Top 100 album titled We Are Not Your Kind. With the front of the stage so crowded that there was nowhere for a needle to be poked, everyone wanted to see Slipknot perform. Other than the lights from hundreds of cell phones being held up in the air, it was pitch black everywhere except for the bright red silhouetted Slipknot logo on a large curtain covering where the nine members of Slipknot would take to the stage or the drum risers and then explode into action for the crowd like a bomb. A recording of AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” played on the monitors, which then turned into Slipknot’s “515” song, which is just a barrage of noises with the chant of ‘death’ during it, and almost like the lit fuse was at its end, you could hear Jay Weinberg start hitting all of his cymbals, and then the crowd screamed even louder because they knew the storm was about to begin. Corey Taylor growled into the microphone, and then all of a sudden, boom, the curtain was sucked up into the scaffold of the stage, and Slipknot opened their Armageddon of performance with “People=Sh*t.” It had been a long day for some in the now dusty Discovery Park, but once Corey screamed, “let me see your f*cking hands in the air,” it was all worth it. Songs they played included “Before I Forget” “(sic)” “Vermillion,” “Wait And Bleed,” “Sulfur,” and new songs “Unsainted” and “Solway Firth.”
Seventeen songs later, they finished the night with “Surfacing.” And if that wasn’t enough, there were still two more days left of beer, food, and more music.