The Aftershock Festival started in 2012 as a one-day rock festival but now in year two became an annual two-day rock festival held in Sacramento, California. Bob, Ken and I thought this was a good reason to take a road trip and since we decided to make the roughly eight hour drive each way we thought we would get our money’s worth and drive up the day before to stay a night in San Francisco.
As DRIVING from San Diego to San Francisco would imply we were trying to save a little money and thus we booked a hostel beforehand, but when we got there we were turned away. The front desk guy said they were full even though I am fairly sure we were just too old to be staying in a hostel. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we were able to secure a room in a really nice hotel through a last minute booking website. “Room with a view” was an understatement. We could see nearly all of SF and Alcatraz from our window.
After the room fiasco we were all ready for a drink. We walked to the closest bar and the moment we walked in I heard someone yell “Gary!” I looked around and didn’t see anyone so we continued toward the bar when I heard it again. I still didn’t see anyone so I turned to my two compadres to ask if they heard it. About this time a third “Gary” was yelled. I looked upstairs to the source of this yelling and who do I see? Fucking Marvin! He coordinated with Bob’s wife to figure out where we were and drove down from Washington to surprise us. The even more random part of this moment that is worthy of a sidenote is that this happened to be the same exact bar I had taken mushrooms at years earlier. Lots of drinking and laughing later we made it to bed just long enough to get a few hours of shuteye.
After a quick hour and a half drive with a stop at Denny’s thrown in for good measure we made it to the Residence Inn, which borders Discovery Park. We purposely booked this hotel so we could walk back and forth and not have to rely on getting cabs. Discovery Park is a beautiful natural setting and a little more freeing than seeing a concert in a traditional venue or cookie cutter amphitheater. There is also something magical about watching bands outdoors with lots of trees and grass around.
This festival was all about Day 1 for me. We caught a glimpse of the vixen fronted In This Moment but only because they were on right before the first band that anyone cared about which was Steel Panther. I had seen them a couple times in San Diego when they were still known as Metal Shop and then again as Steel Panther about 3.5 years before this. They were still touring the 2011 album Balls Out at this point but for this crew it was all about their older song “Death to All But Metal.” It had become a running favorite among us and was even more of a treat since one of the bands they blasted in the song was Papa Roach, who was playing later that day.
SETLIST: Eyes of a Panther, Tomorrow Night, Asian Hooker, Just Like Tiger Woods, Community Property, Death To All But Metal
Despite P.O.D. being from San Diego and having been around forever I somehow never saw them until now. I cannot claim to be a big fan of theirs but they do have a handful of songs I like. They were touring for the album Murdered Love that was just over a year old at this point. No frills rock representing San Diego.
It was at this point I got very sleepy and decided to take a little nap in the grass. I guess staying up all night drinking and not getting very much sleep will have the effect of making one tired. During this time the terrible Butcher Babies played so I can’t say I “missed” anything.
Buckcherry gained popularity in the 90’s and hit it big again in 2006 with “Crazy Bitch.” It was never my flavor but they were the first band on after I woke up and since I had never seen them I thought why not? They had all the talent one would expect from a one hit wonder (even though they had a few hits).
Papa Roach was next. This is a band I never really liked but also never really disliked. I had seen them at various festivals three times before this and the guitar player blew me away that first time. After being dissed by Steel Panther earlier in the day they proved why the two bands should have been in each other’s time slot. I am pretty sure we as a consensus decided this was a great time to go get beers to prepare for Megadeth.
I had only seen Megadeth one other time about five years before this so I was pretty jazzed to see them again. They were now touring for the album Super Collider, which was only released three months before this gig. Dave and Company tore it up. With the exception of “Kingmaker” from the new album they did not play anything newer than “She-Wolf” from Cryptic Writings (so many better songs they could have chosen from that album). The one/two punch of “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells” was the stuff that boners are made of.
SETLIST: Hangar 18, Wake Up Dead, In My Darkest Hour, She-Wolf, Sweating Bullets, Kingmaker, Tornado of Souls, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
For the grand finale of the day we got to see Korn, which was the number one reason I actually wanted to make this trip. This was only my fourth time seeing them and I had not seen them since the end of 2002. Much of this was due to the fact that I all but lost interest when Head left the band after Take a Look in the Mirror. Korn has some good material after this but the band was never the same once Head left. Well now Head was back and a new album called The Paradigm Shift was about to be released on 10/8/13. Head and Munky go together like peanut butter and jelly so for me this was pretty much akin to the whole band breaking up in 2003 and finally reuniting. I saw Ray Luzier drum for Army of Anyone but this was my first time seeing him drum for Korn even though he had been Korn’s full time drummer for over four years by this point. One of the first things I noticed when Korn came out was that Jonathan Davis looked healthy and like he was in a good place. This was confirmed by the performance he and the rest of the band put on. They played tight and I think a big part of that was Ray playing the shit out of the drums. Since the new album was still a few weeks away from release we got to witness the first time they ever played “Love & Meth” and “Never Never” in concert. Korn was definitely back.
SETLIST: Blind, Twist, Falling Away From Me, Love & Meth, Narcissistic Cannibal, Coming Undone, Did My Time, Shoots and Ladders, Here to Stay, Never Never, Y’All Want a Single, Get Up!, Got the Life, Freak on a Leash