Thirty thousand devout hard rock and metal fans took the voyage to rock ‘n roll Mecca this weekend. Dressed in black (despite 90° heat), thousands of concertgoers invaded Sacramento’s Discovery Park to stir pits and pay homage to the biggest names in the genre at Aftershock Festival.
The two-day, thirty+ band festival was a collision of several major nationwide tours in the City of Trees. Aftershock Festival’s producers brought together Monster Energy’s Rock Allegiance Tour (Volbeat, HIM, All That Remains) and Carnival of Madness (Shinedown, Papa Roach, In This Moment, Skillet, We As Human), and additionally marked the starting point for fall runs for Avenged Sevenfold; Korn with Asking Alexandria and Love and Death; the Wrong Side of Heaven Tour with Five Finger Death Punch, Miss May I, and Gemini Syndrome; European dates for Halestorm and Shinedown; and more.
At first glance, Day 1 looked like a concert with a bit of an identity crisis. Aftershock’s opening day threw everything from Megadeth and Testament to Skillet and P.O.D. into the mix. However, as strange as the lineup seemed, the diversity in musical styles was ultimately refreshing compared to festivals that stack the bill with all ultra-heavy bands or all Midwestern active rock acts.
Saturday’s daytime lineup was dominated by Century Media Records. The LA-based metal label front-loaded Day 1 with memorable midday performances by In This Moment, Buckcherry, Butcher Babies, Otherwise, and newcomers Girl on Fire. But at the end of the day, Sacramento is Papa Roach country, and everybody was just counting down the minutes until the NorCal icons took over the main stage.
Jacoby Shaddix was greeted with open arms and roaring applause as he made several cameos into the crowd. The fully reenergized audience sang along to hit after P-Roach hit, but there is still almost nothing like hearing “Last Resort” live…except maybe hearing it sung by 15,000 strong in the band’s hometown.
Megadeth was well placed after Papa Roach, who put fans in the mood to stir some pits and throw the occasional crowd surfer into security, but only half the crowd seemed really into it. Megadeth served its purpose in appeasing the old-school metal fans, but it was still the most out-of-place main stage set of the weekend.
Second-to-last of the day was everyone’s favorite box-office rockers, Shinedown. Now, Shinedown is one of the most consistent live bands in all of music, let alone rock ‘n roll. And yes, if you see them enough times you can start to recite all of Brent Smith’s between-song quotes before he says them. However, no matter how many times they perform the exact same set, their songs are timeless.
Brent Smith looks great and sounds perfect, and Shinedown’s version of “Simple Man” should be performed at every festival. The only downside to this particular performance of the Lynyrd Skynryd classic was that it was drowned out by half the crowd chanting “KORN.”
At the end of a long, hot festival day, fans are usually claiming their blanket space and settling in for the night’s headliners, but not at Aftershock. These fans put bodies in those blankets and threw them in the air. Energy levels throughout the park only increased throughout the day, and peaked once three familiar words were growled from the main stage mic: Are. You. Ready?!
It was time for KORN.