As 2018 nears its close, Danny Wimmer Presents and crew once again graced California’s capital with the very popular (and very sold-out) Monster Energy Aftershock Festival, now in its seventh year. How sold-out, you ask? Oh, you know, just a mere 60,000 plus humans—the festival’s biggest turn-out yet.
For those of you out there who don’t know the name Danny Wimmer…shame on you. But seriously, this man—this event producer extraordinaire—knows his festivals. Mr. Wimmer is also known for other shindigs (Aftershock being the only west coast iteration) such as Northern Invasion, Chicago Open Air, Rock on the Range, Louder Than Life, Rock Allegiance, Bourbon and Beyond, Hometown Rising, Carolina Rebellion, The Big Ticket, Fort Rock, Welcome to Rockville, and new entrant for 2019 Sonic Temple (replacing Rock On The Range).
This year’s festival was special for a few reasons, most notably of which being the tragic passing of legendary drummer Vinnie Paul (Pantera/Damageplan/Hellyeah), who would’ve played with his previously-scheduled band Hellyeah. In the months following his death and leading up to October’s Aftershock, a tribute was erected in his honor. Those who paid homage and performed iconic Pantera and Damageplan songs included Korn’s Jonathan Davis, Godsmack’s Sully Erna, Deftones’s Stephen Carpenter, Shinedown’s Zach Meyers, Sevendust’s Clint Lowery and John Connolly, GWAR’s Blothar and Pustulus Maximus, KYNG’s Pepe Clarke and Eddie Veliz, Emmure’s Frankie Palmeri, Act of Defiance’s Chris Broderick, and Hellyeah’s Kyle Sanders. Vinnie’s own drum kit was used in the tribute and SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin hosted.
The other—and less sad—reason this year’s outing was unique came in the form of an increasingly rare appearance by System of a Down. The band, having been on an extended hiatus, came together and closed out Sunday evening with a massive crowd-drawing upon the main stage. It was great seeing them perform again and we hope they continue to do so.
Saturday’s closer was none other than Sacramento’s own Deftones. Seeing Chino and the gang allowed me to cross them off of my why-the-hell-haven’t-I-seen-them-live-yet list. And hey, the Deftones Phantom Bride IPA from Belching Beaver ain’t half bad either.
The bordering fence line for this year’s setup was expanded (one can assume it was due to massive ticket sales) which allowed for more food, drink, and merch vendors. Among them was the notable Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards Wine Garden, owned by Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer frontman Maynard James Keenan. We were tempted to inquire about a particularly late Tool album but surmised they knew not the goings on in that regard.
Some of the notable heavy hitters that shook Sacramento included 311, Wage War, Jonathan Davis, Emmure, Underoath, Sevendust, Asking Alexandria, Action Bronson, Godsmack, Incubus, Bullet For My Valentine, Alice in Chains, and Seether. There were some standout performances, too, such as LAW, a hard rock band fronted by Sublime royalty Jakob Nowell. The Fever 333 came in hard with their (good) political messages and amazing energy. We’ve seen these guys before at this year’s Musink Festival, and we’d do it over and over again. Seriously, check these guys out.
Another favorite of ours came in the form of Amigo the Devil—a one-man band created and performed by Danny Kiranos—who uses the power of his guitar and banjo in what I like to refer as “Murder Folk”. His songs are dark and moody and ever so salaciously sinful. Amigo also performed for the Aftershock Post-Mortem After Party at local bar Goldfield Trading Post. As someone who has seen Amigo several times, and while it was awesome to see him on the big stage, he really shines in small, intimate settings where he can interact with the crowd.
The 2018 Monster Energy Aftershock Festival was—to no one’s surprise—a massive success, and if you, dear reader, have any inclination of attending next year…well, I guess we’ll see you there.
WORDS BY JUSTIN RHOADS
PHOTOS BY MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY