Travelling from the east coast of Florida to Northern California for a two day music festival is a gamble, but one that definitely paid off when we attended the Monster Energy Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California. It was a rocking experience filled with 50,000 fans, food, drink, dust and awesome bands. There were the usual minor glitches with parking and lack of signs on the first day, but all in all the new venue was a huge success – lockers for rent to hold your valuables, lots and lots of space, trees for shade, adequate food/drink vendors, ATMs, campgrounds, four fantastic stages and 40+ bands. Kudos to tour management – every single band went on stage on time.
Saturday was kicked off by British group Raveneye opening with hard-hitting Breaking Out on the Coors Light Stage. Having toured this summer with Slash and Myles Kennedy, the group is gaining popularity with US fans. Devour the Day played in the high noon sun to a packed crowd and was followed by Snot who had the first circle pit of the day formed in the middle of a huge crowd. Turbowolf, another British rock group, is on their first US tour and introduced their eclectic brand of hard rock, metal, electronica and boogie woogie to the fans who jammed the stage begging for more. The hard-driving rock/metal kept coming with sets by September Mourning, Red Sun Rising, Art of Dying, Suicidal Tendencies, Hell or High Water, who had played a set on Friday night at the Slipknot Scream Park. All That Remains re-energized the crowd mid-afternoon with their melodic harmonies and crushing guitar riffs.
Pop Evil took the stage to a throng of literally tens of thousands, playing both older favorites and songs from their latest album, Up. At one point, lead singer Leigh Kakaty walked out into the crowd, was lifted, standing, on the hands of fans and sang. I had a short conversation with Leigh Kakaty in the media area about their show at Maverick’s in Jacksonville, Florida just two nights earlier (yes, they drove cross-country in just two days to play at Aftershock) and the hardship of touring. While it can be a demanding, hard life at times,Leigh said
they have finally reached the point in their music careers where they can start taking in the beautiful diversity of this country, and have always enjoyed meeting and mingling with their fans.
Beartooth, POD, Hollywood Undead, and Black Veil Brides were followed by Clutch, who closed the Coors Light stage with their classic hard rock and lyrical melodies of Neil Fallon, playing both well-known songs, accompanied by the vast crowd, and songs from their newest album Psychic Warfare. The beat was hard and fast, the guitar riffs outstanding – hopefully next year they will be on the main stage where they belong. The evening started on the main stages with Seether, followed by Breaking Benjamin, who wowed the fans with their vocals and three layer guitar riffs, and even did a Nirvana cover. Bring Me The Horizon was followed by the theatrical performance of
Marilyn Manson, whose ever-changing style of music is none the less always provocative.
For me personally, the best performance of the opening day was put on by Shinedown whose stage of fire/flames/explosions matched their music. The set opened with Cut the Cord from their new album Threat to Survival and included State of My Head, the fist pumping Diamond Eyes, the ever popular Second Chance, the cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man, and ended with the hard-hitting Sound of Madness.
Day one of Aftershock was closed by the fist pumping, head whipping heavy metal headliner Slipknot playing to a virtual sea of fans estimated at 30,000+. Slipknot took to the stage with their unique masks in place, their percussion units twirling, and opened with Sarcastrophe. Psychosocial was followed by the haunting vocals of The Devil in I. Fan favorites Wait and Bleed, Duality, and Vermillion were followed by the set closing Metabolic. With the fans refusing to leave and demanding more, Slipknot performed two encores, SIC and Surfacing. Day one was a complete and total success – venue, staging, timing and music all earned five gold stars.
Day One Band Photo Gallery