Aftershock 2019 Brings In Largest Crowd In Festival’s History

Written by David Masterson

Sacramento’s Aftershock festival has just wrapped up their biggest year to date. The annual hard rock and metal festival took place at the city’s Discovery Park the weekend of October 11th,​ 12th and 13th​. What started as a single day event in 2012 has now become a three-day rock and metal extravaganza. This year’s addition of a 3rd day came with a warm welcome once again selling out all three days which brought in a whopping 97,500 attendees Those numbers made in the festival’s largest crowd thus far.r54 With a lineup that featured legendary acts such as Tool, Slipknot, and Blink-182, along with Staind, Korn, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Bring Me The Horizon, and more, there’s no question why it sold-out.

In the heart of Sacramento lies Discovery Park which provided an ample location for Aftershock, accommodating a total of 32,500 daily attendees this year. The layout of the festival grounds was very well thought out. Being surrounded by trees, you could effortlessly take shelter from the somewhat high temperatures during the day. There was an abundance of food and drink vendors which could be found lining the outer edges of the venue as well as the center areas. Restrooms could easily be found no matter where you were. Also, the stage locations are far enough away from each other that they don’t get drowned out by bands playing at other nearby stages. Combine all these things and you have a recipe for a successful location.

For attendees looking to add something to their Aftershock experience, the VIP section offered some nice perks over the standard GA tickets.. Located between the Kolas Discovery and Monster Energy stages, you can find private viewing areas to watch some of the festival’s top billed acts. For those wanting to relax while still enjoying the festival, the lounge area provided a place to sit or lay and watch the performances on a huge screen. Food and drink vendor lines were very short compared to others in the GA section which gave you more time to watch the acts. Restrooms in the VIP section were luxurious, complete with private stalls, sinks, mirrors and a cooling system. With all these amenities, there is no question that upgrading to VIP is definitely worth it..

The company responsible for putting on such an impressive event has grown to become the largest independent festival producer since its inception in 2011. With 14 annual festivals across 13 US cities, it just goes to show you why Danny Wimmer Presents [DWP] is one of the best festival producers there is. DWP has created, developed and produced events such as Louder than Life, Sonic Temple, Epicenter, Bourbon & Beyond, Welcome to Rockville and Rock Allegiance. Music industry veteran, CCO and President of DWP, Danny Wimmer, is no stranger to the festival scene. He’s been producing festivals large and small since 1993. DWP is committed to long-term growth, strong community relationships, unparalleled experiences and significant economic impact.

Aftershock is already on track for another record breaking year in 2020. On the Thursday leading up to this year’s event, they announced that Metallica would be performing at Aftershock for the first time ever with two different sets on two separate nights. Less than one week after the end of this year’s event, weekend VIP passes for 2020 have already sold out. Weekend GA tickets are still available, but if you are planning on going next year I would purchase them sooner than later. Tickets for next year can be purchased on the Aftershock website (aftershockfestival.com).

WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS

FRIDAY

Dropkick Murphys

Massachusetts-based band Dropkick Murphys kicked-off Friday afternoon with their unique American Celtic punk rock sound with the song, “The Boys Are Back” on the Monster Energy stage. Dropkick Murphys are still riding high from their latest album ​11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory​ which was released in January of 2017. The 14-member band had an upbeat, high-energy performance that included hit songs from their latest album as well as, “Signed and Sealed in Blood,” “The Meanest of Times” and others which kept you dancing throughout their entire set. They also played their rendition of, “I Fought the Law” by the Clash which the crowd seemed to love. Within the following week, Dropkick Murphys finished their Fall 2019 tour with the bands Clutch and Hatebreed which began in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 20th​.

Halestorm

Charismatic vocalist/guitarist Lzzy Hale celebrated a birthday on Thursday, October 10th. To help keep the party going into the weekend, Jose Mangin from SiriusXM walked onto the stage and lead the audience in singing, “Happy Birthday” to the iconic frontwoman along with presenting her with a cake. Afterwards, Lzzy took to the mic and said, “Thank you. No one ever sings to ME.” The Grammy Award-Winning band then kicked off the festivities with the song, “Do Not Disturb” from their newest album released in 2018. Hale provided the powerful vocals she’s known all too well for throughout their performance, singing fan favorites, “I Get Off,” “Freak Like Me,” “Love Bites (So Do I)” and “I Miss Misery,” which they closed their set with. The band is currently on tour with Godsmack.

Lamb of God

Debuting on the Monster Energy stage at Aftershock this year was Virginia-based band, Lamb of God. This thrash metal band got the audience pumped with their heavy drum beats, ravaging guitar riffs and growling vocals. Most of their set consisted of songs from their albums, Killadelphia and VII: Sturm und Drang. The band announced in July that founding member and drummer Chris Adler would not be returning to the band after suffering from injuries left from a motorcycle accident back in 2017. Chris Adler has now been permanently replaced by his fill-in, touring drummer Art Cruz. The band will begin working on recording their 8th studio album set to be released at a future date. In September, the band also announced that for the first time in six years they will be headed back to the UK for their first run of headline shows as part of the band’s, “State Of Unrest” tour.

Staind

Closing out the Kolas Discovery stage was none other than Massachusetts-based rockers, Staind. After taking a five year hiatus, the band announced that they would be reuniting for a handful of shows this year. This makes the first year for the ensemble to grace the stage at Aftershock. Without missing a beat, they ripped through a set that included classic hits such as “Eyes Wide Open,” “It’s Been Awhile” and “So Far Away.” With Aaron Lewis’s stage presence and melodic voice, it often felt like you were being serenaded by Lewis himself . The entire audience joined along with the song, “Outside” and you could feel the emotional energy all around you. They finished their set with a fiery performance of, “Mudshovel” from their second album, Dysfunctional released in 1999. It’s still unclear if the band will continue to book any forthcoming shows or release any new music in the future. The groups last studio album was released in 2011.

Sum 41

Canadian rock band Sum 41 closed out the smaller Coors Light Capital stage on Friday night, but that didn’t stop them from bringing in a huge crowd to see their performance. Playing classic songs such as, “The Hell Song,” “Walking Disaster,” “In Too Deep,” “Fat Lip” and “Over My Head (Better Off Dead),” Sum 41 had the audience bouncing to every song. The crowd went nuts midway through “Out For Blood” when an inflatable devil that resembled Tim Curry’s character from the movie “Legend” rose from behind the band as if it were crawling out from the depths of hell. Sum 41 is currently on their “Order in Decline World Tour” named after their latest album which was released on July 19​th​ of this year, along with celebrating the 15th anniversary of their album ​Chuck​.​ ​This makes the band’s first appearance to Aftershock.

Slipknot

Headlining the first night of Aftershock was Iowa based nu-metal band, Slipknot. This makes the band’s second time appearing on the Aftershock lineup. Decked out in white outfits and their signature grisly masks, the nine-membered group brought a high intensity performance to the Monster Energy stage. Their insane 17-song set consisted of songs that spanned their entire musical career starting in 1995. They closed out the night with an encore performance of two songs from their self-titled album; “Spit it Out” and “Surfacing.” It was definitely an epic climax for what would be a memorable weekend. This made the band’s final North American show before heading internationally for a few shows in late November and a major European tour in early 2020. On August 9th of this year, the band released their widely anticipated 6th LP titled, We Are Not Your Kind. ​

SATURDAY

Marilyn Manson

Self-proclaimed antichrist-superstar Marilyn Manson made his 2nd​ appearance to Aftershock. While being a master of showmanship, shock value and controversy, Manson had an energetic and sometimes erratic performance. Seemingly intoxicated, Manson took to the stage decked out in all black. He grabbed the microphone and chanted, “We hate love, we love hate,” as the crowd repeated his words before abruptly going into the song, “Irresponsible Hate Anthem”. Other hit songs from their set included, “Dope Show” and their widely popular rendition of, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by 80’s duo, The Eurythmics, which had the audience singing every word. Towards the end of the performance, a large podium baring the memorable shock logo was brought center stage where the shock rock frontman climbed up from behind in a long red robe that somewhat resembled something the Pope might wear. He proceeded to open a Bible, the pages of which instantly engulfed in flames. He lifted the flaming book into the air before flinging it across the stage as a prelude to the song, “Antichrist Superstar.” Manson closed out his performance with their iconic song, “The Beautiful People.”

Bring Me The Horizon

The English band that defies to be categorized Bring Me The Horizon delivered a spectacular performance with an arduous visual presentation that included choreographed dancers, smoke cannons and an abundance of eye-popping pyrotechnics. Frontman Oliver Sykes, alongside guitarist Lee Malia and bassist Matt Kean, kicked off the night with the vigorously heavy, “MANTRA.” The band’s set included its older, death metal-inspired material along with newer and more experimental dance-influenced tracks including, “The House of Wolves,” “Happy Song,” “Shadow Moses” and “Can You Feel My Heart.” They also performed their newest single, “Sugar Honey Ice & Tea.” With every new song they played, Sykes continually encouraged the crowd to go even harder. They wrapped up the night with their most popular track, “Throne.”

Rob Zombie

Master of horror Rob Zombie is no stranger to Aftershock. His first appearance was in 2014 as a headliner on the Monster Energy stage. His impeccable performance and fiery stage presence just goes to show why he should still be one of the top billed acts for this festival. Energetic, visually engaging and vibrantly colorful, it felt like you were at a huge party with lasers, beach balls and mosh pits . His set included fan favorites from both White Zombie and his solo albums as well as his version of The Beatles’, “Helter Skelter.” Being that he’s an avid filmmaker in addition to a musician, Zombie showed a preview of his new film, “Three From Hell” before playing his final song of the night, “Dragula.”

Blink-182

Headliner for Saturday was one of the most prominent bands to emerge from the Southern California punk scene. Having just wrapped up their tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album, Enema of the State and the release of the band’s latest album, Nine, the Grammy Award-Winning group Blink-182 brought a performance like no other this weekend. With the arrangement of smoke and confetti cannons, inflatable aliens, insane video wall and mind-blowing pyrotechnics, the band turned an hour-long performance into an unforgettable show. The audience was captivated with timeless classics such as, “Feeling This,” “What’s My Age Again,” “Aliens Exist” and “All The Small Things.” Without question, Blink-182 was definitely a highlight from this weekend’s lineup.

SUNDAY

Babymetal

With their debut appearance to the Aftershock Festival, Babymetal rocked the Kolas Discovery stage Sunday afternoon which brought in an overwhelming crowd. Their incomparable performance could best be described as a mix of J-pop and heavy metal. The crowd was eager to rock out to Babymetal’s choreographed dance routines, fast paced drums rhythms and heavy guitar riffs. Their set included fan favorites such as  “Gimme Chocolate!,” “Megitsune” and “Karate.” They also performed songs from their recent album, Metal Galaxy which was just released in the United States on October 11​th​ and coincides with their current world tour.

A Day To Remember

Florida chart-topper A Day To Remember hit the stage with their mix of infectious melodies and punishing heaviness providing one of the highlights to the festival’s final day. T-shirt cannons, toilet paper launchers and a touch of pyrotechnics supplied festival-goers with an incredibly interactive performance. The band’s set included songs like, “If It Means a Lot to You,” “Have Faith in Me” and “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” as well as some new songs such as their collaboration with EDM producer Marshmello, “Rescue Me” and “Degenerates.”

KoЯn

Bakersfield’s nu-metal band Korn threw down an extraordinary performance on the Kolas Discovery stage making it the 3rd time the band has played at Aftershock. With an unruly 60-minute set, Korn easily drew one of the largest crowds to that stage this weekend. Opening their set with three songs from their self titled album; “Blind,” “Clown” and “Faget,” the energy and spirit never wavered. At the halfway point they played “You’ll Never Find Me” which is off their month old studio release; The Nothing. Frontman Johnathan Davis brought his bagpipes along to perform the band’s classic hit, “Shoots and Ladder.” Which seemed to excite the crowd even more. They performed other top hits throughout the night including “Got the Life,” “Freak on a Leash,” “Coming Undone” and closed out the night with “Falling Away From Me.”

TOOL

One of the most highly anticipated bands from this weekend’s line up was the legendary progressive metal band TOOL. This marks the band’s first time in over a decade that they would be playing new music live. It is also the first night of their tour promoting the long-awaited album, Fear Inoculum which was released on August 30th​. The set started with the title track from the new album and then graced their fans with “Ænema,” one of three songs they would play from their 1997 album of the same name. The others were, “Forty Six & 2” and an extended version of, “Stinkfist.” Maynard James Keenan hardly spoke between songs which allowed you to take in their trademark sound of hypnotic riffs, brain melting time signatures and ridiculous chops. TOOL ended their Aftershock appearance with a live rendition of “Pneuma,” the second track off their latest album.