SEPTEMBER 13th 2014
Review By: Kathleen Clarkson
Photos By: Jamie Paullus

Aftershock still a young festival in nature, only three years running so far, has everything the longer running festivals have and just maybe a few additional elements. The 2 day festival in Sacramento may have really been set in hell as hot as it was with the highs reaching 99 degrees on Saturday and 96 degrees on Sunday in mid-September. Aftershock is held at Discovery Park, its 302 acres and located besides I-5 downtown Sacramento. They hosted 46 bands, 23 each day, with 4 stages, on being nestled right below I-5, two other stages side by side and then another about 2 football fields directly across from them. In order to get all 23 bands due time to play many bands played at the same time, even across from each other, so if you were standing directly in the middle of the massive field you got blasted by the sounds of the two different bands, I experienced this many times going from stage to stage trying to get in as many bands as I could, it certainly made for some confusion in my brain and a lot of tinnitus in the ears, but so very worth it.

Monster sponsored three stages and Coors Lights sponsored another. On Saturday, Monsters, Stage West, hosted Anti-Mortem, Memphis May Fire, Hellyeah,  Black Label Society, Tech N9ne, and Limp Bizkit. This had to have been the most active stage of the day in my opinion. Probably best it was back all by itself with a lot of room for a lot of people. Anti-Mortem from Oklahoma, opening up with the tune from “Oklahoma” kicked it off at high noon; they set the tone for the rest of the day on that stage.  Memphis May fire a band from Texas so use to this sweltering heat was as hot as the sun. They gave a personal shout out to Spokane, WA local rock star Jimmy Nuge, of The Fail Safe Project, whom in his own right is quite the skilled artist. Memphis May Fire gave the crowd everything they wanted with their hardcore sound and bad boy looks. Hellyeah hit the stage at 2:15 at this point in the day it was so hot I decided to check the local temp on my phone. It was 96 degrees’. Chad came out wearing a black long sleeve shirt. However that did not stop him from giving the people the Hellyeah show they have come to expect. Vinnie Paul, of course mastering the drums as if the sun was not as hot as it was. Hellyeah played 30 minutes one of their best sets I have seen, which is now about the 8th time that I have seen them. I believe, Tom Maxwell with the 2 new members Kyle Sanders and Christian Brady it adds a deeper sound to Hellyeah. Black Label Society, really what can I say about them we have not heard before? Zakk, he is it, he is a true musician underneath all that hair and leather. 

The only thing I do ponder is why did Tech N9ne perform after Black Label Society? That I just find odd. I have not seen Tech N9ne before even though they come to Spokane, WA often. So I did have to watch and see what he was all about. I’m still not sure he should have followed BLS, it just did not fit, however he was interesting to watch. He did put on a good show. The crowd was totally into him. He did not have his band with him he said he flew down from Canada just for Aftershock. He brought out Krizz Kaliko to perform on stage with him. Tech N9ne was a good set I did enjoy it.  To close the stage was Limp Bizkit; personally I think they should have headlined the day. Out on stage first was a man only wearing a rainbow striped jock-strap. He was certainly dressed for the hot heat.  Fred Durst, looking a little rough around the edges but a bit more mature,  came out and gave him a nice smack right on his bare ass then hit the stage hard with old school Limp Bizkit. At this point in the day there were no other band playing so there were around 20,000 people watching. Most having to watch them on the 2 mega screens that were up on sides of the stage, the people in VIP had their own screen so they did not have to leave the comforts of the wicker loungers. Fred at one point said “time to take it back to 1999 when shit was out of control” with 20,000 people there and his past history that was a scary thought. He immediately jumped down into the crowd security following.  He approached a kid about 8 years old picked him up and sang with him. The kid, you could tell was very excited. Next he went and sang to a lady in a wheelchair after he went into the crowd, I’m certain security was praying for there not to be any riots.  He played many of his songs, breaking out with ‘Rollin’ ‘Hot Dog’ ‘My Generation’ ‘Livin’ It Up’ ‘My Way’ ‘Re-Arranged’ ‘Killing in the Name’ (Rage Against the Machine cover) ‘Take A Look Around’ and the notorious ‘Break Shit’. Limp Bizkit closed Monsters Stage West but not the night.

I spent most of my day running from one stage to another trying to catch as many band as I possibly could however it was not possible to catch them all.  The Coors Stage kicked it off with the very first band of Aftershock at 11:30 Dig The Kid, followed by Viza, Eyes Set To Kill, Emmure, Butcher Babies.  Monsters North Stage started at 12:30 with The Last Internationale, Dead Sara, Pepper, Bad Religion, Awolnation, and headlining the entire show Weezer. Stage North played at the same times as the Coors stage so I did not see any bands on the Coors stage and Stage North and Stage West were across from each other playing one band after the other so that was where the running came into action. The Last Internationale was a band I have never seen before, most of these bands I have seen at least once if not more. Dead Sara, singer Emily Armstrong, looked a lot different than the last time I saw her. She seems to be more comfortable in her role as a rocker chic with a pissed off attitude. Pepper is pretty much Hawaiian surfer dudes or beaches boy’s meets reggae. I’m not really sure which one, I just know the women loved them. Bad Religion was up next, a classic punk band that has been around for over 30 years, looks a little less punk rock but certainly does not sound any less punk. They may be older and a little more rigid now, but they still do play like the same young punk rock boys of the 1980’s.  Awolnation, an Indie/Alternative Rock band, which was next the first band of the day not having to compete with any other band as the last four bands had their own time slot. Weezer headlined the first day of Aftershock. When they played it was about 9pm and there was over 20,000 people waiting for Weezer to come out and entertain them. Finally, Weezer come out to a major movie theme however they don’t play it long for me to figure it out then go right into ‘My Name is Jonas’, ‘Hash Pipe’ other favorites ‘Beverly Hills’ and ‘Buddy Holly’.

Monster Stage South hosted Islander, a new rock band, first time I saw them was this year’s Rockstar Mayhem Tour and they are making quite the name for themselves. Proving they have what it takes to be on a festival such as Aftershock. Sleepwave is a new band one that I did not get to see at Aftershock, but did get to see in Spokane, WA a few days before I came down for the festival.  Fuel, who was next in the lineup, a great band, I feel maybe a bit underrated. Nothing More, a new band as well, getting great reviews, vocalist Jonny Hawkins, has a truly amazing voice. This is a band like no other.  They all have their own drum set they play with Jonny’s being attached to his mic stand with a bass guitar attached as well. This is really something you have to see. It’s not really describable. Nothing More is a must see band, if given a chance go see them do not miss them. Chevelle, always a great band to see, they always put on a good show, sound great and you never walk away disappointed. Probably need more time than 30 minutes which is just warm up time really. Offspring, direct support for Weezer, a band that many were most excited for looked a bit older, heavier but sounded great just like there CD’s. About 3rd song in some said they are playing ‘Smash’ it was very loud so I asked him to repeat what he said, he said “They are playing the Smash Album”. Oh no wonder they sounded just like their album. I have seen Offspring before and enjoyed them the first time more than this time maybe because I felt like I was just listening to a CD.

The first day of Aftershock was certainly a day of great bands 23 of them and some seriously rocking music. It was hot as hell but worth it, I just kept myself hydrated, used lots of sunscreen and stayed in the shade as much as possible. If I could have rearranged the lineup I would not have put Tech N9ne after Black Label Society or even Hellyeah. I’m curious as to what Zakk Wylde thought of this, I could see it going either way, good or bad. I also feel that Limp Bizkit nailed it; they truly put on the best set of all and probably should have headlined the day. Maybe next year they will ask my opinion.