Early October in Sacramento, the autumn breeze starts to roll in and rock music fans all over the world get a spring in their step. Why? Aftershock, presented by Monster Energy. Since 2012, Monster has put on this world-renowned rock festival, and the attractions and lineups keep getting better and better every year, this year being no exception. Originally only spanning two days, this year’s Aftershock festival boasted three days’ worth of metal, punk, rock, and alternative musical entertainment hosted in the heart of the City of Sacramento at Discovery Park. People came far and wide, even crossed oceans to see the weekend’s stacked lineup, all three days ultimately selling out.
The weekend kicked off on Friday October 11th with the likes of Knocked Loose, DED, and Pantera’s Philip H. Anselmo and his band Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals. (A few weeks before the show, an artist known as Poppy was added to the lineup, but was unfortunately unable to attend). On the KOLAS Discovery stage, Motionless in White opened with their new song Disguise off their new album of the same title while throwing in classics like Reincarnate and Voices, with frontman Chris Motionless giving an energetic and crowd-interactive performance. Also performing on the Discovery stage before the sun went down was Halestorm. Kicking off their set, the audience wished front woman Lizzy Hale a happy birthday with Sirius XM’s Jose Mangin leading the audience in a celebratory Happy Birthday song, cake and all. Beaming, Hale and her band continued their set, performing newer songs Do Not Disturb and Uncomfortable as well as fan favorite classics like I Get Off and I Miss the Misery.
Over on the Monster Energy Main Stage, I Prevail performed mostly songs from their newest album TRAUMA, including Bow Down, Paranoid and Hurricane, but also included Come and Get It and Scars off their previous album Lifelines. Clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser and screamer Eric Vanlerberghe along with drummer Gabe Helguera and guitarists Dylan Bowman and Steve Menoian put on a passionate performance that was felt throughout the crowd. Also performing on the main stage was popular Irish punk band Dropkick Murphys. In true Dropkick fashion, the band opened their set with the playing of bagpipes, leading right into The Boys are Back. Concert goers were seen dancing a jig to familiar tunes Rose Tattoo, The State of Massachusetts, and the ever popular I’m Shipping Up to Boston.
Three bands headlined night one of Aftershock, the first being Lamb of God, celebrating their 25th year as a band. Lead vocalist Randy Blythe’s powerful screams and growls carried over the enthralled crowd as performances of Ruin, Walk With Me In Hell, and Laid To Rest incited moshing, crowd surfing, and plenty of banging heads and rock horns raised high. The second headlining performance of the night marked the return of Staind. After a brief hiatus, lead vocalist Aaron Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April and drummer Sal Giancarelli graced the Aftershock stage for the first time, providing a set audience members won’t soon forget. Lewis delivered a haunting and nostalgic performance, the crowd swaying, head banging, and belting along to familiar tracks Eyes Wide Open, Fade, Crawl, Outside, and It’s Been a While.
Closing out night one was the final headliner of the night, Slipknot. Releasing a new album, We Are Not Your Kind only two months prior, the notorious masked metal band took the Monster Energy main stage with an elaborate set display, including two large barrel drum sets up on platforms on either side of the stage and a treadmill-esq walkway, all-encompassing an eerie industrial feel fitting for the music it accompanied. Frontman Corey Taylor lead a visually stunning and musically enthralling performance, performing classics like Get This, Before I Forget, Psychosocial, and Duality, only playing two tracks off the new album, Unsainted, and the dark and chilling Solway Firth. After an incredible 15 song set, the crowd still wanted more, chanting for an encore. Well, ask and ye shall receive. The band returned to the stage for two final encore songs, Spit It Out and Surfacing, bringing a close to night one.
Concertgoers returned to Discovery Park on Saturday the 12th of October after an incredible first day of rocking out. Kicking off day two, attendees gathered to the sets of Dead Posey, Sick Puppies, Badflower, The Interrupters, Ghostmane, and more. As the park began to fill in toward the middle of the day, Highly Suspect, with their eclectic blues rock sound took the main stage. Though their demeanor was seemingly cool, calm and collected, lead vocalist Johnny Stevens, guitarist Matt Kofos, and twin brothers Ryan and Rich Meyer on drums and bass put on powerful performances of Bath Salts, Lost, and My Name is Human, among other tracks. Across the way on the Coors Capitol stage, Andrew W.K. was partying with his audience, performing Party Hard, She Is Beautiful, and his ever popular We Want Fun.
Before the headliners took center stage, Bad Religion performed on the KOLAS Discovery stage, playing popular favorites 21st Century (Digital Boy), You, and Sorrow, closing their set with possibly their most popular track and clear crowd favorite American Jesus. Over on the main stage, Stone Temple Pilots took the stage. After only two years of fronting the band, vocalist Jeff Gutt put on memorizing performances of classic tracks Plush, Interstate Love Song, and Trippin’ On a Hole In a Paper Heart, capturing the spirit of new fans and leaving old fans with a renewed sense of nostalgia.
Marilyn Manson was the first of four headliners to perform on day two. The highly anticipated performer drew by far the largest crowd of the weekend thus far, people packing themselves into the space like sardines from stage front to the VIP entrance to the merch booths. Fans of Manson know to expect an entertaining performance, and this year’s was all that and then some. Covered head to toe in glitter, face smeared with red, white, and blue paint, Manson performed eerie, memorizing, and shocking performances of Irresponsible Hate Anthem, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), and Antichrist Superstar, closing out his ominous set with a crowd favorite, The Beautiful People.
As the sun came down on the Monster Energy main stage, Bring Me The Horizon was taking their places. Opening with Mantra, this would be the English rock band’s first time performing their new album, amo, in Sacramento. Frontman and vocalist Ollie Sykes took his place in the center of a futuristic stage, surrounded by cyborg-esq dancers, and exclaiming to the audience, “We’re going to go on a spiritual journey.” Their set was a complementary mix of the old and new, playing new tracks like Medicine, Mother Tongue, and Sugar Honey Ice and Tea alongside classic BMTH tunes Shadow Moses, Can You Feel My Heart, and Happy Song.
Rob Zombie was the final performer and headliner to grace the KOLAS Discovery stage on day two. With a large glowing pentagram and goat head fixed to his mic stand, Zombie made his grand entrance draped in shredded garments and makeup fitting for the king of the dead. Starting his set with Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown, Superbeast, and Living Dead Girl, Zombie had his crowd jumping, banging their heads, and dancing under the almost full moon, a fitting setting for this spooky set. With a new movie just being released, the trailer for Zombie’s sequel to The Devil’s Rejects, 3 From Hell, played on the side stage screens before closing his set with Dragula.
The final headliner of day two, Blink-182 took their places on the Monster Energy main stage to the roar of a highly excited audience. Lead vocalist and bassist Mark Hoppis, secondary vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba and drummer Travis Barker opened their energetic set with a classics, I’m Feeling This and The Rock Show. Though the American rock band recently released a new album Nine, only one song, Darkside, was played from it. Their set consisted almost entirely of classic Blink hits, including What’s My Age Again? First Date, All the Small Things, and an emotional performance of I Miss You. Their 17 track long set seemed to fit in with the weekend’s unintentional theme of nostalgia, bringing the crowd back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s, ending their set in such nostalgic fashion with their ever popular Dammit.
The last day of Aftershock is always bittersweet. A cloud of dust and smoke filled the park, prompting lots of attendees to sport masks and bandanas, but even in such conditions, everyone was just as ready to rock out as the previous two days. Sunday kicked off with the likes of Brkn Love, New Language, Fire From The Gods, The Crystal Method, and Fu Manchu, but the crowds didn’t start to fully fill in until Falling in Reverse took the KOLAS Discovery stage. Frontman Ronnie Radke opened the band’s set with Rolling Stone, tossing and flipping his mic throughout the set. Recently, Radke and FIR released three singles, all fitting together to tell a story, and they performed the two most popular, Losing my Mind and Drugs. It’s well known that Radke has been using his music as a way to tell the difficult story of his life while also spreading a message of positivity. He closed their set with Just Like You and took his leave with an “I love you and goodnight.”
The day continued with Gojira on the Monster Energy Stage, but the draw of the late afternoon was the Japanese Metal Pop sensation that has taken the internet and the world by storm. BABYMETAL was by far the most unique performance of the weekend’s lineup, with their kawaii metal style, mixing heavy metal music with pop vocals and choreographed dances. As their performance went on, more and more festival goers were drawn to the KOLAS Discovery stage, intrigued and entertained by the band’s catchy and heavy sound.
Chevelle was the first of four headliners to round out the final day of Aftershock. Frontman Pete Loeffler, brother and drummer Sam Loeffler, and bassist Dean Bernardini performed at sunset, playing an 11 song set with popular tracks Get Some, Face to the Floor, Vitamin R, and The Red being sung by audience members from the stage to the edge of the field. On the opposite side of the venue, A Day to Remember kicked off their highly anticipated set with a bang, starting off with 2nd Sucks and, along with colorful streamer cannons, Right Back At It Again. Other classic songs, Have Faith in Me, I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of? All I Want, and The Downfall of Us All were also played throughout the set, the audience singing every one word for word. ADTR has been working on a new album with a new label, Fueled By Ramen, and two tracks have been released so far. Both Degenerates and Rescue Me were performed on the Monster Energy main stage and were well received by the audience. Their new album, You’re Welcome, is due to debut November 15th.
Back on the KOLAS Discovery stage, the second to last headliner of the night, Korn, celebrated 25 years with an incredible performance that drew one of the largest crowds of the weekend. With his iconic mic stand taking center stage, frontman Jonathan Davis took the crowd back in time, playing some of their most popular tracks. Their set kicked off with Blind, among up the crowd for the head banging-inducing set that was to come. The nu-metal group played mostly classics like Here to Stay and Freak on a Leash, but also gave a couple of their songs a surprising twist, incorporating the outro of Metallica’s One to the end of Shoots and Ladders and a snippet of Queen’s We Will Rock You toward the end of Coming Undone.
The spectacle of the entire weekend was without a doubt the final night’s headliner, Tool. Frontman Maynard James Keenan spent less time up front and more toward the back with drummer Danny Carey, with guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor taking the forefront of the stage. Beautiful, but ominous and sometimes slightly disturbing artistic images projected on the screens to the side of the stage allowed the audience to really focus on the music rather than the band itself. Their set opened with the debut performance of Fear Inoculum off their new album of the same title, their first new release in 13 years. A beautiful light show accompanied the haunting songs, including Aenema, Parabola, and Forty Six & 2. Large, bright beams of light shot out from the center of the stage and created a display over the audience that the crowd gazed up at in awe. It complimented the music perfectly, and was unlike any light display seen at the festival before. Watching Tool’s set was like viewing and experiencing pure art, a perfect way to conclude the third and final day of Aftershock 2019.
Aftershock will return October 2020 with the festival’s debut of Metallica, set to headline two of the three days. Tickets went on sale Monday, October 14th.
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CLICK HERE for more pics of HALESTORM.