SACRAMENTO, CA - Northern California’s 2019 Aftershock Music Festival did not disappoint metal and festival lovers alike! As one of the heaviest music festivals in the west, fans from a variety of genres crowded into the 302 acre park in Sacramento . With three stages, 52 bands and over 90,000 people in attendance, this 3 day festival at Discovery Park was one of the best.
Rain, soot or fire - the festival rocked on! Southern California’s wildfires shut down portions of the i-5 freeway, closed roads and delayed travel for attendees, as well as artists. Rock band I Prevail was forced to book a last-minute flight to make it in time for their afternoon set and pop-metal artist Poppy had to cancel her set altogether due to the wild fires.
Friday’s headliners included a heavy night of Slipknot, Staind, Lamb of God and Halestorm, with 14 other opening bands playing throughout the day among three stages. As the sun set, powerful female vocalist Lzzy Hale lead Halestorm into “Do Not Disturb” after the band celebrated her birthday with an on-stage cake and serenade. With oversized video screens and enough speakers to line a stadium, fans kicked back to Staind while they waited on the other side of the park for Slipknot to take the stage. Singing along to “The Outside” and donning bandanas around their faces, the crowd moved closer to the stage for Slipknot’s intro of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”. In all of their metal masked glory, Slipknot performed much of their latest album “We Are Not Your Kind”. Corey Taylor easily alternated between disturbed, soft-spoken confessional lyrics and intense harsh vocals; unleashing powerful screams of rage. The band’s stage performance was high energy, pyrotechnics and a stage design with elevated percussion kits and “keg” drums.
Saturday was a mix of metal, punk, grunge and rap with headliners like Rob Zombie, Bring Me the Horizon, Marilyn Manson and Blink 182. And just like the day before, 14 opening bands rocked the day as fans continued to pack into the park. Rob Zombie’s performance is still stellar after all of these years and had fans crowd surfing and women in thongs dancing on their man’s shoulders. There was a thick haze in the air as Marilyn Manson took the stage at dusk in his signature trench coat, performing “The Flower Duet” (Lakmé). He grabbed the microphone and shouted “We Love Hate, We Hate Love” before the band ripped into the intro. The highlight of Saturday was English rock band, Bring Me The Horizon, who has matured from a from a death-metal debut into a melodic, pop-savvy headline. Heads immediately started banging with their opening of “MANTRA” and “The House of Wolves”. The band has evolved over the last decade while still keeping their melodic metalcore.
They saved the best for last! The worst part about Sunday was deciding which stage to rush to absorb as much metal as possible before the weekend was over. Korn, Tool, Chevelle, Gojira, A Day to Remember and 11 other openers such as BabyMetal and Deadland Ritual. Chevelle came out swinging, hard and heavy as the sun set over the crowd. Pete Loeffler’s pure intensity and raw emotion poured into each vocal and the instrumentals pounded through the air. Men, women and children were crowd surfing overhead and the fans sang along to favorites such as “Send The Pain Below” and “The Red”. Korn took the stage next, as the savage riffs from James “Munky” Shaffer’s guitar led the band into “Blind”. If you were tough enough to shove your way to the front of the stage (like we did) and last more than a few songs in Korn’s merciless front row turbulence then you’ve gained my respect. Mosh pits broke out in every direction as Korn played “Freak on a Leash” and “Got the Life” and even though I’m a woman, I am just too metal to sit any of them out. Bruised and battered, the crowd eagerly endured the rest of the set. The festival ended with the legendary and most memorable, Tool. The set was dark, the crowd was eerily quiet and still. As the first laser lit up the park and tens of thousands of people burst into screams, Tool took the stage with “Fear Inoculum” from their latest album, released on August 30, 2019. Vocalist, Maynard James Keenan, remained draped in darkness at the rear of the stage, each song played more intense than the last. Their performance was composed, psychedelic and hypnotizing while resonating in each fan’s soul. Most songs crossed the 10-minute mark, as they played a variety of music from their new album and finished their set with “Stinkfist” and “Pneuma”. Taking in this performance was less about rowdy mosh pits and crowd surfing as it was about appreciating the composition and perfect synchronicity of the music. Maynard spoke few words but ended the festival with a simple ‘Good Night”.