Last weekend, October 13 & 14, the 7th Annual Monster Energy Aftershock festival brought together 60,000 hard rock fans at Discovery Park in Sacramento, CA, who were treated to an array of upcoming bands as well as legendary and well-established bands like System of A Down, Deftones, Incubus, Alice in Chains and many more.
It all began on Saturday, October 13, and since before 8 am, fans were already lining up outside the park grounds waiting to be one of the lucky ones to be up in front of the stage for all the action.
On Saturday afternoon, Monster Energy Aftershock performers and special guests also came together to pay tribute to the late Vinnie Paul, who had been scheduled to play Aftershock with his band Hellyeah before his unexpected passing in June. Hosted and curated by SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin, and anchored by Hellyeah’s Kyle Sanders on bass and KYNG’s Pepe Clarke playing Vinnie Paul’s own Hellyeah drum kit, the tribute featured a revolving cast of guitarists and vocalists playing songs from Damageplan and Pantera.
Jonathan Davis, Godsmack’s Sully Erna and Tony Rombola, and Shinedown’s Zach Meyers collaborated on an epic version of Pantera’s “Walk.” Other performers included Sevendust’s Clint Lowery and John Connolly on Damageplan’s “Save Me”; Jose Mangin, Chris Broderick (Act Of Defiance) and Eddie Veliz (KYNG) on Pantera’s “A New Level,” Frankie Palmeri of Emmure and Stephen Carpenter of Saturday headliners Deftones on Pantera’s “Becoming”; and GWAR’s Blothar and Pustulus Maximus reimagining a Pantera classic, “Mouth For War.”
Saturday’s headliners, Deftones, received a hero’s welcome by their hometown fans and from the very first song, “Rat Skates”, Discovery Park erupted in a giant mosh pit. Deftones front man, Chino Moreno did not hide his excitement for playing in front of his hometown fans, family and friends and dove into the crowd several times to the delight of the excited crowd.
On Sunday, Oct 14, the momentum just kept growing with each band that hit the stage, even as the warm sun beat down on the crowd, the excitement never diminished and it just kept growing with each band.
On the Discovery Stage, Black Veil Brides and Seether warmed up the crowd for Slash Feat, Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators who gave a hard rocking performance which featured new material and old Slash material and only played one Guns N’ roses song, “Nightrain”, which I think was a welcome relief; but without a doubt, Alice in Chains was reason enough for many to not visit the Monster Energy Stage all day and miss formidable performances by Incubus, At The Drive In and others.
Alice in Chains powered through a set that included new material as well as classic hits like “Check My Brian”, “Them Bones”, “Man In The Box” and “Rooster” among many others. Although it’s always a monumental task to replace an iconic lead singer, William DuVall has been doing a more than acceptable job, of course, there will always be some people that will think Layne Staley is irreplaceable and rightly so, but Duvall is not trying to do so, instead he brings his own intricacies to the band.
Meanwhile, at The Monster Energy Stage, it was hard to imagine how each band could follow up the next one and keep the momentum going, but each band was up to the task.
Bullet for My Valentine definitely kicked the afternoon into high gear with a powerful set that mixed in classic band material and new songs,
At The Drive In, along with System Of A Down, was probably one of the most anticipated performances of the whole weekend and they did not disappoint. From the very first chords, you could tell they were back with a vengeance. Frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala was on fire as he jumped off the amplifiers and drum kit and swirled his microphone around and encouraged the fans to get moving and to not be as boring as the San Bernardino crowd was the day before.
When I first saw the line up and Incubus was listed, I thought they were out of their league as they were playing in front of a hard rock, punk crowd, and didn’t think they really fit in, but they sure surprised me and many others as they powered through a blistering set that included classics like “Ana Molly’, “Megalomaniac”, “Nice to Know You”, “Drive” and covers of “Need You Tonight” from INXS, snippets of Snoop Dog’s “Gin and Juice” on “Are You in?” and Pink Floyd’s “Whish You Were Here” on the band’s “Wish You Were Here”.
The night closed with a bombastic set by System of A Down, who had been absent from U.S. stages for over 3 years and they sure made up with a 22 song set that included classics like the opener “Prison Song”, “B.Y.O.B.”, “Aerials”, “Chop Suey”, “Lost In Hollywood’, “Toxicity” and many more. As usual, the band doesn’t talk much on stage and they just let the music do the talking for them. From the first power chords, the fans went into a frenzy and celebrated every single movement of the band on stage.
I have been to many “big concerts” and festivals and I have to say that the Monster Energy Aftershock festival is by far, one of the best organized and smoothly run festivals I have ever attended, most sets began on time, the logistics were almost perfect, of course, you are always going to have long lines for the porta pottys, beer and food, but overall, it was a great experience and can’t wait for next year.
Some concert details courtesy of Ashton Magnuson Media
Photos by Sam Shapiro (DWP)