This wasn’t just any KORN performance. Fans had two major things to look forward to during this particular set: 1) Brand new music from Paradigm Shift (out October 1st) and 2) The return of Brian “Head” Welch. And yes, both were worth the eight-hour wait.
The new music went over well with the crowd, particularly the band’s first live performance of “Love and Meth.” The classics were the highlight of the night, particularly “Falling Away from Me” and “Shoots and Ladders” — only Jonathan Davis can make a bagpipe bad ass.
From doors open to lights off, Day 2 of Aftershock was stacked with what I would argue was the best single-day lineup of 2013.
Hell or Highwater vocalist Brandon Saller set the tone for the day with an unfortunately early set, followed by a pair of stand-out performances by Warner Bros.’ Gemini Syndrome and the festival’s breakthrough act of the weekend, Nothing More. The San Antonio four-piece was the only band called back by festival producers to play for the second time, and midday on the main stage no less. Nothing More’s unique alt-rock style, combined with a tribal Blue Man Group-esque drum section and ultra-catchy hooks, got this act more than a few looks over the weekend. Expect them to release some major news in the coming weeks.
The only real downsides to Day 2 of Aftershock were the cancellation of Filter, the heat, and having to decide which bands you wanted to put off seeing ’til next time. There was little to fault with the performances, maybe the bizarre mic-swinging antics of Falling in Reverse’s Ronnie Radke, but ultimately — not much to complain about.
The main stages were a constant rotation of rock’s biggest headliners. And thanks to the genius planning by Aftershock’s producers to place the stages side-by-side, fans were able to conserve valuable energy by not having to walk half a mile between sets. Halestorm, A Day to Remember, and Volbeat finished out the daylight hours on a high note, but just like Day 1, fans were only warming up for the night’s final performances.
Five Finger Death Punch took a moment to knock Avenged Sevenfold for bringing their pyrotechnics, but at the end of the day, Five Finger doesn’t need them. Ivan Moody is one of the most captivating singers in music, not just hard rock, so the flames and explosions weren’t missed.
The stand-out songs for FFDP were the obvious cover of Bad Company’s “Bad Company” and the band’s first mega-hit, “The Bleeding.” The old stuff may still pack a punch, but I’ll have to put the new material at the top of the list for best moments from Five Finger’s set. “Lift Me Up” off The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell (even without Rob Halford’s vocals) was the best offering from the Las Vegas metal band.
After FFDP wrapped, the solid-black mass of nearly 16,000 fans chanted “Sevenfold” in unison as Aftershock’s final band and festival heavyweight prepared to close the weekend. Synyster Gates led the way, taking his time to walk across stage left amongst a wall of flames with “The King” towering over the back of the stage.
M. Shadows flew in from stage left as the band went straight into the first track from Hail to the King, “Shepherd of Fire.” The set was A7X at their best. The band proved that they can play a stripped-down set last month at the Hollywood Palladium, but there is nothing like watching the SoCal metal band throw down “Bat Country” and “Nightmare” with a flame-covered stage and signature A7X theatrics.
The Gothic, heavy metal-inspired set was even more impactful under the starry Sacramento night, which added additional drama to tracks like “Afterlife” and “Buried Alive.” Avenged’s performance of the current single “Hail to the King” mid-set was the single best four minutes of the weekend, while a festival-ending “Unholy Confessions” will go down as a close second.
More interviews and coverage from Aftershock Festival can be found all week long in the LA Music Blog!