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Aftershock: A Love Story for 19,000 Rock and Metal Fans | Arts & Culture

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Aftershock: A Love Story for 19,000 Rock and Metal Fans
Arts & Culture, Fun, Life
Aftershock: A Love Story for 19,000 Rock and Metal Fans

Discovery Park, Sacramento - The heat was stifling and the dust was enough to make any contact-wearer’s eyes flood. Dirt caked the ripped jean vests and sweaty faces of the crowd; regardless of the drought driven conditions, over 19,000 people flocked to Sacramento’s Discovery Park this weekend to thrash, mosh, and headbang to genre and decade-spanning rock.

I made my way to my first show of Saturday: Pepper. It was a classic Sacramento Summer day. The heat accompanying the blend of rock and reggae, with that wonderful ground-shaking bass in full effect and felt full-force from even the very back of the crowd. 

Up next on the stage parallel-- Nothing More. The guys of this drum-driven 4-piece put on a show for the eyes and ears, the lead singer dripping and screeching through lung-popping bass. The highlight of the show, per crowd reaction, was the guitarist and bassist propping a bass guitar onto a spinning rig and letting the vocalist slap the strings vigorously with a pair of drumsticks, while the others’ fingers flew across the fretboard. My drummer had told me about the stunt from when he witnessed it at last year’s festival, but it was truly a jaw-dropping moment of my day.

With that show finished up, I looked over pictures in the VIP area, a wonderful shady oasis in the midst of the hellish dryness with lounge chairs and plenty of space for blankets. About 200 feet away on one of the three main stages, Awolnation vocalist Aaron Bruno’s voice crackled and smoothed over synth both pretty and punchy. I made my way down to the pit just as the starting chords for one of the the band’s major hits, “Sail”, quieted the crowd only very briefly before they erupted in wild screams and claps of approval, a noise heard often in Discovery Park this past weekend.

I took a break from the heat and the crowds as Bad Religion took the stage, heading to the Planet Smoothie truck for some much-needed fuel to get me through the rest of the evening. It only took me the trek from the truck to the main vendor tents to finish it off, and I made it back to the Bad Religion stage just as they finished, upset I wasn’t able to make more of the show, but also thankful I had gotten something in my stomach.

The next band I remember passing by was Limp Bizkit. I wasn’t all that interested in watching the show, so my friend and I checked out some of the other vendor booths and the Monster Energy lounge, where FREE ice cold Monster energy drinks were enjoyed by the masses in massive quantities. We buzzed out of the lounge with a mixture of excitement for the upcoming Offspring show and the energy blend in our bright red and silver cans. The Limp Bizkit crowd was the largest of the whole day. We exchanged doubtful looks and trekked over to watch a song or two. I was, shockingly, enamored with the crowd response and impressed with the quality of performance-- they brought the 90’s nostalgia to the stage hand-in-hand with a genuinely “Aftershock” feeling of party hard or go home.

To beat the crowds, we excitedly ran through the dust to the other main stage to catch the band I’d wanted to see all night-- The Offspring. They were set to perform their album, “Smash”, in its entirety, which still holds the record for most albums sold on an independent label. The energy rose as a thick haze of cigarette smoke and dust clung to the air above our heads. The lights on the stage dimmed and it was time to go-- spoken intro gave way to the madness of the first song, fast, heavy, driving, the voice and the familiar punk songs I’d craved all night. I savored every moment (save for a size 11 foot attached to a 250 pound man that buried itself into the top of my skull). It was a perfect end to the night, fists being thrown into the air, expletives ripping through the throats of the crowd-members, lyrics sung in between the gasping breaths of shirtless punks running, moshing like their lives depended on it. 

As the well-versed punk classics exited the stage, I knew it was time for me to head out. But before going I could hear Weezer taking command of the stage. The show was a tight-knit roll of crowd-pleasing classics that left everyone satisfied with the performance. My Aftershock Day 1 experience left me with the dirty shoes, sore lungs, and ringing ears that accompany a day well spent. 



Arts & Culture, Fun, Life