The latest concert series bestowed upon us by venerable Danny Wimmer Presents was held—for its sixth year—at Discovery Park in Sacramento, California. This year’s iteration of the Aftershock Festival boasted three stages (Monster, Blackcraft, and the Capital stage), dozens of vendors and supporters, and a respectable thirty-five-band lineup.
Day one started out as most festival day ones begin: waiting in traffic for longer than most of Metallica’s encores only to pay outrageous parking prices (thirty-fucking-dollars a day, in case you fine readers were wondering) for a spot that’s roughly a twenty-minute walk to the venue. Luckily the line for security wasn’t nearly as bad, though we did get some guff for our photographer having a backpack full of camera equipment, though we do understand the need to keep patrons and musicians safe, especially in the wake of the horror that took place in Las Vegas. That sorted, we made a beeline for the media-slash-VIP section, which had cornhole and giant jenga, but only two porta-potties. There was, however, a full bar which strangely was cash only yet most of the general admission vendors took plastic. We secured our credentials, pounded a few Monster energy drinks, and shoved our way through the sea of concertgoers so that we could get shit done.
With three stages and almost forty bands vying for everyone’s attention and most of them having overlapping set times, it was hard to fully focus on all of them, so we had to pick and choose. With such a good line up (even with Marilyn Manson and Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes dropping out of the line up), choosing wasn’t easy, but chose we did. The first band we couldn’t miss was Pennsylvanian punkers Anti-Flag, who arrived in full force demonstrating they weren’t going to take any shit. With a new album on the horizon, it was exciting to hear some new cuts.
Vocalist Schuylar Croom (sounds like a badass villain name, right?) of He is Legend stood out looking like Rob Zombie-meets-Duck Dynasty (Zombie Dynasty anyone?) as he and the band played some heavy sounds. Oh, and he may have been rocking a Mickey Mouse shirt as well. The stage shenanigans put on by Eagles of Death Metal was a nice welcome as vocalist/guitarist Jesse Hughes merrily came out riding a bicycle to the song Magic by 70s rock group Pilot.
Code Orange, Gojira, August Burns Red, and Stone Sour all had amazing energy and rocked the panties off of the crowd. A few things tickled our fancy though: Corey Taylor and Josh Rand of Stone Sour looked like Dee Snider and Billy Corgan respectively. Run the Jewels especially pumped up the crowd, bouncing from stage right to left deftly and expertly. They were particularly fun to watch live, and we loved Killer Mike’s shirt, which read: USA 1, Confederate 0. We were surprised, however, to find out that James Corden could rap so well.
A Perfect Circle made their presence on the Blackcraft stage—well sort of: Maynard James Keenan was chilling in the shadows as he boomed his voice across all of Sacramento. APC played a lot of crowd favorites as well as their new single, The Doomed. The thing that kept running in the back of our minds though, was a burning question that we’re sure most of you have been pondering too: when the fuck is the new Tool album coming out?
As if musical genius and wine connoisseur Maynard James Keenan wasn’t enough, musical genius and mother-effing Oscar winner Trent Reznor brought his merry band of Nine Inch Nails on stage and absolutely hammered it home. The culmination of all the previous bands’ energy waylaid for the powerhouse that was NIN. If you could watch only one band this festival, it would be them.
For day two, we wisened up and found street parking in a nearby neighborhood and took a ride share into the venue. Back in the VIP area we said our hellos and headed out for the day’s festivities. Some of the day’s early bands included Black Map, New Years Day, Them Evils, Starset, and Butcher Babies, but we couldn’t wait for Suicidal Tendencies to amp up the venue. Cyco Mike flew across the stage, swinging his arms and fist pumping in his iconic style. These guys really jive together and play extremely well live. Definitely go see them if you ever get a chance.
Hollywood Undead seemed to be clinging onto their rapcore style, the band wearing their typical masks. Of Mice & Men played an awesome set with bassist Aaron Pauley taking up lead vocals after Austin Carlile’s departure from the band last year due to medical issues. In This Moment had an amazing stage presence with their Lady Gaga-meets-Ghost outfits and doom-groovy jams.
Another band we were excited to see was the always funny and raunchy glam-metal band Steel Panther. These guys might not be for everyone, but if you don’t laugh even a little bit from their in-between-song antics and bantering, then you probably have a stick up your ass. It was during this set that there was an unfortunate altercation between our photographer and a very rude and unprofessional NES security personnel. This particular employee grabbed our photog by the wrist without asking permission while she was entering the photo pit, and cinched her press wristband tight to the point of it being uncomfortable and chaffing her wrist. Naturally, this violation and unprofessionalism couldn’t go unnoticed, so we made a formal complaint with NES security management after SP’s set.
The penultimate band of the night was Five Finger Death Punch, which we didn’t realize wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin was the lead singer for. Who knew, right? The lead singer sported a red handprint on his face, much like everyone’s favorite volleyball Wilson, which made us think that their new name could be Five Finger Death Slap.
The real reason everyone stuck around, however, was to see legend Ozzy Osbourne belt out his classic songs. We were pleasantly surprised at how spry he still was and how much energy he had. And let’s not forget that the extremely talented Zakk Wilde was on hand with his iconic black and white guitar to shred some serious notes, seemingly channeling the spirit of guitar legend Randy Rhoads.
All in all the festival—though with some minor hiccups—was another big hit for DWP. We look forward, as always, to future events by Danny Wimmer Presents, and you can count on Ghost Cult Magazine being there to cover them.
WORDS BY JUSTIN RHOADS
PHOTOS BY MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY