Day 1 Review
The Monster Energy Aftershock Music Festival is an event that music fans in Northern California look forward to each year. The band lineup is always the talk of social media, and this year was no exception. Before one even gets in the gate, there’s the issue of parking to deal with. It’s never really been easy, but no concert parking ever is. Discovery Park doesn’t have a parking lot that can fit thousands of festival goers, so lots of people were shuttled in from the Sleep Train Arena parking lot. Uber to the event was an option, and indeed it turned out to be a a great decision, as the walk from the bridge to the entrance was accomplished in less than ten minutes. Next, not having to wait in the huge general admission line so that was a relief. Being a credentialed journalist allowed the use of the VIP line, which was very quick. Security did search fanny packs, which was understandable with the recent tragic events in Las Vegas. Local police were all over this festival and the security were on their game. There were quite a lot of bands playing, so each review will have to be brief.
First to host the Blackcraft Stage was Los Angeles rock band Deap Vally. This badass female rock duo definitely had a White Stripes sound and the crowd was diggin’ it. Deap Vally brought those rock n’ roll vibes that every festival should have, and it was a perfect way to start day one. Next on the schedule was Greta Van Fleet over on the Monster Stage, but they apparently had some kind of travel issues and were delayed four hours. They eventually arrived and performed but I missed the set because of the scheduling confusion.
Everyone was quite excited for legendary punk rock band Anti Flag. The Pittsburgh band stands for peace and unity and always bring high energy to their performance with their strong lyrics on politics and police brutality. With lots of fist pumps and middle fingers, Anti Flag will get you amped up and ready to mosh. After all these years, it’s good to know they are still standing for something.
San Antonio hard rock band Nothing More was set to perform on the Monster Stage. Another photographer in the photo pit said that this band was a “must see,” and he was right. Their newest single Go To War was so good that I decided to listen to it again on the way home. Lead vocalist Jonny Hopkins has an incredible voice, and I would love to see this Nothing More perform in a smaller venue on their next tour.
North Carolina rock band He is Legend was playing next on the Capital Stage and I wasn’t sure if I’ve ever seen this band before, but the vocals of Schuylar Croom sounded great. His raspy scream sounded even better in person and the crowd was really digging it.
Throughout the day, more great bands were performing stellar sets including Highly Suspect, Gojira, and The Eagles of Death Metal.
Now onto one of the most popular bands that performed on Day 1. August Burns Red has been touring for a long time and there is no sign of slowing down. Like always, this band’s energy is through the roof, making you wanna get off your feet. Lead vocalist Jake Luhrs is a great front man who can stomp his foot and shake the earth while a sea of concert goers is jumping up and down, having the time of their lives. Their shows are always an incredible intensity which makes most people wanna jump into a mosh pit. The band ended their set with their popular song White Washed and the band continues to be successful while recording new music all the time.
Next up on the Monster Stage was Stone Sour from Des Moines, Iowa. Most fans are used to seeing Corey Taylor screaming his heart out for Slipknot, but today he was singing for Stone Sour. Captivating the audience, Corey Taylor has that “rockstar” vibe about him and that makes the guys wanna be him, and the ladies wanna be with him. At one point in the performance, he shot confetti out of a giant gun. The crowd was singing loud to all their popular songs and it really showed how popular this metal band is.
This next artist played on the smallest stage but possibly had the biggest crowd of the day. Rapper Tech N9ne is no stranger to Northern California, and the fans showed up! Performing on the Capital Stage and opening with his hit track Straight Out The Gate the rapper made sure the people were having fun. Tech N9ne wore a mask on stage that resembled Spiderman, but with a giant anarchy symbol on his forehead. He came out with rapper Krizz Kaliko who was just as energetic. These two rappers were great performers, putting it all out there for the fans.
As the sun started to go down, more bands were performing killer sets throughout the festival including Code Orange, Mastadon, and Run the Jewels.
Despite having multiple food trucks and snack bars all around me, I was so busy moving from set to set that food wasn’t even a thought. Most food was at least $7 or more, and many decided to hold off on eating till after the event.
As the sun was going down, the rock supergroup A Perfect Circle were headlining the BlackCraft Stage. Speaking as a photographer, this was a nightmare to photograph because the stage was incredibly dark. This alternative rock band sounded good but the performance couldn’t hold my attention. Friends in attendance said they really enjoyed the soothing set list but the live show didn’t live up to my expectations of many concert goers. With only three songs to try and capture a photo of lead singer Maynard James, it seemed impossible since he was placed towards the back of the stage in the shadows.
Onto the final band of the evening and headlining on the Monster Stage was industrial rock band and Grammy award winning Nine Inch Nails. Lead vocalist Trent Reznor showed incredible intensity on stage and it was fun to watch. The stage was completely filled with smoke so it was really hard to get any good photographs but the music sounded great, and the fans of Sacramento were screaming in appreciation. They performed a bunch of their hits including Hurt, Closer and Less Than. Nine Inch Nails was a great choice to end Day 1.
As the concert goers started walking to their cars, talks of “that was awesome” and “they were amazing” were heard throughout the crowd. The people were ready to go home and get some sleep so they could come back the next day and do it all over again.
CLICK HERE to view more pics from Day 1.
Day 2 Review
Most would crash pretty hard after the first day of Aftershock, (drinking a bunch of Monster Energy drinks will do that to you) but it didn’t stop the fans from showing up early. These ladies looked great and sounded even better, the Butcher Babies are beauty and brutality. Tearing it up on the Monster Stage, this metal band from Los Angeles definitely made some new fans in Northern California. Heavy Metal riffs combined with high and low screams that made most smile with joy. Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey have people standing there thinking “How does she do that?” Great way to start the second day of Aftershock, where the attendance was already visibly much bigger than the day before.
Most fans walked over to the Capital Stage for thrash/punk band Suicidal Tendencies. There is always a crowd of concert goers who want to run around in a dusty circle pit. I wasn’t too familiar with their set list, but lead guitarist Dean Pleasants was somewhat mesmerizing as he played their popular song Institutionalized. Lead vocalist Mike Muir was very energetic, shaking his arms back and forth, which was quite entertaining.
Beartooth played on the Monster Stage where metalcore riffs and crowd surfing made for a fun set in the afternoon. Lead vocalist Caleb Shomo showed great stage presence, but I believe this is another one of those bands that may sound merely good on a festival stage, but amazing in a smaller venue.
Hollywood Undead was next up on the Capital Stage. If you like rap music and you like rock music, you’re most likely going to dig these guys. I would listen to this band in high school, so felt it was absolutely necessary to check out their set. All of the members of the band came out wearing masks, which seems to be what makes them stand out. From Los Angeles, this rap core group has catchy hooks that make you wanna scream the chorus. They might have been one of the only bands that had pyro on stage all weekend.
The crowd rushed over to the Capital Stage because Sacramento was about to get its first taste of Fozzy. Being a pro wrestling fan my entire life, seeing Chris Jericho up close was surreal. Jericho is quite the showman on stage and knows how to entertain the crowd whether its tossing around the microphone stand or smiling at his band mates, you can tell he’s having a lot of fun performing his new songs all over the world. Guitarist Rich Ward is possibly the mastermind to the heavy metal band, which has polished their sound and is now getting the recognition they deserve. They opened their set with their hit single Judas which continues to climb the charts.
Of Mice & Men was playing next on the Monster Stage. The band debuted in 2009 with their former lead vocalist Austin Carlile but he had to step away from the band due to medical illness. Since then, bassist Aaron Pauley has stepped up to be the front man of this California screamo band. The crowd was jumping around a lot, and it seemed to go very well for these guys. Their sound has changed somewhat throughout the years but they have let it be known that despite the band lineup change, they’re going to continue to make new albums and perform all over the world.
The sun was finally starting to pass, but the wind was picking up. Alternative metal band In This Moment put on a performance that was television worthy. Most felt like they were watching a Superbowl halftime show. Lead vocalist Maria Brink was polarizing and had your attention as soon as she walked on stage. Her theatrics and stage presence were super original and entertaining. With the help of a couple stage performers, they gave us amazing visuals which allowed me to capture some amazing photos. The wind was blowing hard during this set but Brink used it to her advantage and I believe it really helped her interact with the audience. Lots of concert goers thought their performance of Whore was one of the highlights of the day.
Halestorm was the next band to play on the Monster Energy main stage. Rocking the stage like Joan Jett, lead vocalist and guitarist Lizzy Hale came out fierce and this hard rock band from Pennsylvania showed that they can handle themselves on a huge stage in front of giant crowd. A concert goer told me that Halestorm was her favorite performance and that Lzzy sounded even better in person.
Five Finger Death Punch is a “must see band” for lots of people. Once most people heard the Wrong Side of Heaven, they knew they had to see this Las Vegas heavy metal group. Five Finger has been touring major rock festivals for a while now so they were no stranger to the huge crowd. Headlining on the BlackCraft Stage, their light show was incredible and the fans were singing all the words to their favorite songs. Lead singer Ivan L. Moody was wearing a shirt that said “NOT FOR SALE”. This performance was incredible enough to end a show but it wasn’t over just quite yet.
It was now time for our main event. The headliner of the 2017 Aftershock Music Festival was Ozzy Osbourne. Thousands of fans packed themselves in front of the Monster Stage so they could get to see the rock n’ roll legend. I don’t remember the last time Ozzy performed in Sacramento, CA but fans travel from all over the world to see the Prince of Darkness. Joining him on stage, shreddin’ lead guitar was Zakk Wylde. At one point Wylde walked down the security row and performed a gnarly solo behind his back. To see a legendary guitarist like Wylde up close is a real treat, performing many hits including War Pigs, Iron Man and Crazy Train. Ozzy loved to yell “Let me see those hands!” which he must have said over ten times. He continues to prove that he IS rock n’ roll.
The 6th annual festival drew over 50,000 fans who knew they were coming to Sacramento to see some of the biggest bands in the industry.
The price for a weekend pass ticket was $149.50, and some people are saying that’s too much. That’s a lot of money to spend on tickets, but you have to remember that every one of these bands are huge on their own. They will all go on their own tours after this festival so your chance to see all these bands in two days is remarkable. I feel blessed that this festival was in my hometown of Sacramento, CA.
CLICK HERE to view more pics from Day 2.