Words & Photos by Alan Snodgrass
Now in its eighth year, Sacramento’s Aftershock Festival returned to Discovery Park for a weekend of rock and roll. And just when you thought the previous year’s event could not be topped, festival organizers expanded Aftershock to a third day with an incredible diverse line-up that was sure to bring something for everyone. It was no surprise, then, when the news broke a few days before the fest that Aftershock was officially sold out. What did come as a surprise, however, was when Metallica was announced as headliners for the 2020 festival before doors had even opened on 2019!
Taking the risk to expand the festival to Friday clearly paid off for the Aftershock folks … schools and workplaces in the surrounding area must have been empty because Discovery Park was packed super early. By Motionless In White’s 1:30 pm set, the crowd was absolutely nuts which set the tone for the rest of the day in spite of a no-show by Poppy. And while the kids were enjoying MIW’s set, a sizeable crowd was gathering on the main stage for what would prove to be one of the most memorable performance of the day … Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals delivered an absolutely crushing set of Pantera classics that whipped the crowd into a froth and got the dust flying. Not to be ignored was the Capital Stage nestled in the shadow of Interstate 5 where The Interrupters and Sum 41 pulled respectable crowds as they respectively went up against Lamb of God and Staind on the bigger stages. To top the day off, Aftershock veterans Slipknot tore through a 90 minute set.
After a nutso Friday, Saturday the crowd seemed to ease into the day … arriving a little later and saving their raging until the late afternoon. Ho99o9 was probably the set of the day that shouldn’t have been missed (but was), kicking off with vocalist Eaddy storming right into the crowd at the first beat of the first song. Talk about an attention grabber! From Ho99o9 is was a quick dash over to the main stage to catch Fishbone featuring one of the greatest frontmen in funk-punk, Angelo Moore, kicking right into their classic “Party At Ground Zero.” By the time Bad Religion hit the stage at 4:20, the Saturday crowd had gained critical mass and a chaotic rush seemed to ensue as folks dashed between stages to catch sets by Andrew WK, STP, FIDLAR, Marilyn Manson, Bring Me The Horizon and Rob Zombie before Blink-182 wrapped things up on the main stage. Talk about a stacked line-up.
Clearly folks were in recovery mode for Sunday but no less committed, in particular the Babymetal fans which were the first through the gates to line the barricade in anticipation of their 2:55 set. Those that were too spent from the weekend to wander over to the smaller Capital Stage, missed what were probably two of the most talked about sets of the weekend; The Hu (Mongolian rock which is not to be confused with The Who) and Deadland Ritual (featuring Geezer Butler, Steve Stevens and Matt Sorum) delivered the most buzz (and FOMO) of the weekend. But Sunday was mostly about the headliner Tool; with a new album (finally) out, the anticipation was palpable as the hordes cut away from Korn to pack the field in front of the main stage in time for their first performance since release “Fear Inoculum.” Those that made the effort were treated to not only Tool at its finest, but the live debut of two new tunes, “Fear Inoculum” and “Pneuma.” Brilliant.
With that, another Aftershock is in the books. Perfect weather, impeccable logistics and just a damn good time is what keeps folks coming back. Oh and next year’s tickets are already on sale, don’t snooze if you want to catch two nights of Metallica.
Day #1 of Aftershock Festival
Day #2 of Aftershock Festival
Day #3 of Aftershock Festival